Neuroscience in Denmark

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General information

Name (center, department, group or other)
MacAulay Group, Center for Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen
Contact name
Nanna MacAulay
Contact email
Contact title
Associate Professsor
22. June 2017

Brief description of research activities

The BrainH2O research group led by associate professor Nanna MacAulay has long-standing experience in the scientific field of brain ion and water homeostasis, ranging from biophysical characterization of water transporting proteins and their localization and regulation, to volume regulatory properties of different brain cell types and their role in physiology. The research group has thus resolved the transport mechanisms involved in clearance of activity-evoked K+ transients and determined the role of water-translocating cotransporters in activity-dependent glial cell swelling and in the focal neuronal swelling occurring during ischemia-induced spreading depression. The research group now employs in vitro experimentation and in vivo animal models of the BBB and the choroid plexus to resolve the, hitherto elusive, molecular mechanisms underlying brain water regulation and cerebrospinal fluid production and their (dys)regulation in physiology and pathophysiology.


Membrane transport, volume regulation, aquaporins, cotransporters, cerebrospinal fluid production, hydrocephalus, K+ clearance, water homeostasis, brain edema, astrocytes

Research tools and techniques

Ions-sensitive microelectrodes, ventriculo-cisternal perfusion, two-electrode voltage clamp, isotope flux experiments, molecular biology

Scientific Personnel

No of Associate Professors/Postdocs: 1
No of PhD students: 2
Other: 4

Key references from within the last 5 years

Key references 2012-2017
• Trine L. Toft-Bertelsen, David Krízaj & Nanna MacAulay (2017) When size matters: transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 channel as a volume-sensor rather than an osmo-sensor. Journal of Physiology 595:3287-3302

• Mette Assentoft, Shreyas Kaptan, Hans-Peter Schneider, Joachim W. Deitmer, Bert L. de Groot & Nanna MacAulay (2016) Aquaporin 4 as a NH3 channel. Journal of Biological Chemistry 291:19184-19195

• Brian Roland Larsen, Rikke Holm, Bente Vilsen & Nanna MacAulay (2016) Glutamate transporter activity promotes enhanced Na+/K+-ATPase-mediated extracellular K+ management during neuronal activity. Journal of Physiology 594:6627-6641

• Andrew Jo, Daniel A. Ryskamp, Tam T.T. Phuong, Alan S. Verkman, Oleg Yarishkin, Nanna MacAulay & David Križaj (2015). TRPV4 and AQP4 channels synergistically regulate cell volume and calcium homeostasis in retinal Müller glia. Journal of Neuroscience 35:13525-13537

• Annette B. Steffensen, Jeremy Sword, Deborah Croom, Sergei A. Kirov & Nanna MacAulay (2015) Cotransporters as a molecular mechanism underlying spreading depolarization-induced dendritic beading. Journal of Neuroscience 35:12172-12187

• Mette Assentoft, Brian Roland Larsen & Nanna MacAulay (2015) Regulation and Function of AQP4 in the Central Nervous System. Neurochemical Research 40:2615-2627

• Daniel Bloch Hansen, Ye Zu-Cheng, Kirstine Calloe, Thomas H. Braunstein, Johannes P. Hofgaard, Bruce R. Ransom, Morten S. Nielsen & Nanna MacAulay (2014) Activation, permeability, and inhibition of astroctyic and neuronal large pore (hemi)channels. Journal of Biological Chemistry 289:26058-26073

• Brian Roland Larsen, Mette Assentoft, Maria L. Cotrina, Susan Z. Hua, Maiken Nedergaard, Kai Kaila, Juha Voipio & Nanna MacAulay (2014) Contributions of the Na+/K+-ATPase, NKCC1, and Kir4.1 to hippocampal K+-clearance and volume responses. GLIA 62:608-622

• Mette Assentoft, Shreyas Kaptan, Robert A. Fenton, Susan Z. Hua, Bert L. de Groot & Nanna MacAulay (2013) Phosphorylation of rat aquaporin-4 at Ser111 is not required for channel gating. GLIA 61: 1101-1112

• Thomas Zeuthen & Nanna MacAulay (2012) Cotransport of water by the Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransporter expressed in Xenopus oocytes: NKCC1 versus NKCC2. Journal of Physiology 590: 1139-1154

Scherfigsvej 7
2100 Copenhagen Ø
Tel. +45 39 12 80 00
CVR-nr. 11 81 49 13
Nils Axelsen Ralf Hemmingsen Lauritz Holm-Nielsen Ralf Hemmingsen Jens Oddershede Jens Frederik Rehfeld Anders Bjørklund