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The 27th Neuronal Plasticity Prize of the Fondation IPSEN Has Been Awarded to David Attwell, Pierre Magistretti and Marcus Raichle


The 27th annual Neuronal Plasticity Prize of the Fondation IPSEN will be awarded to three leading scientists for their pioneering work in the field of neuroenergetics: David Attwell (University College London, UK), Pierre Magistretti (Brain Mind Institute, EPFL, KAUST, Lausanne, Switzerland) and Marcus Raichle (Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, USA). The prize will be awarded on July 5th, 2016 at the 10th FENS (Federation of European Neurosciences Societies) Forum of Neurosciences in Copenhagen by an international jury led by Nikos Logothetis (Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany).

Contribution of the three laureates to The understanding of Neuroenergetics

Our brain only represents 2% of our weight, yet it alone consumes 20% of the oxygen and 25% of the glucose in our body. Initially, the scientific community were of the opinion that this energy allocation was devoted to functional activities of our brain (reading, thinking, making a movement, etc.). However, in 1988, Marcus Raichle published data in Science showing that these functions involved only 5% of the total energy in our brain, the remaining 95% being for the basal functions: ensuring the electrical and synaptic activity of the neurons. This discovery would have been impossible without his major contribution to the development of positron emission tomography (PET) and functional nuclear magnetic resonance imagery (MRI). In 1988, in Nature, he published the first integrated strategy for producing and interpreting images of the brain in activity.
These techniques were also vital to the work of David Attwell. Using functional MRI together with electrophysiology, Attwell showed that the grey matter containing the neuronal cellular bodies consumes more energy than the white matter (Journal of Cerebral Flow and Metabolism, 2001). Myelinisation reduces the energy cost of reestablishing membrane potential after an electrical signal is propagated.
Thus, 100 billion neurons in our grey matter require a phenomenal amount of energy to stimulate the 50 trillion connections that they form. These functions are controlled by a tight relation between the neurons and the glial cells, as shown by David Attwell. The work of Pierre Magistretti has also revealed the importance of neuron/astrocyte energy coupling for the functioning of the stimulatory neuronal pathways (PNAS, 1994), including those that secrete glutamate. These neuronal pathways are the most energy demanding. Once it is liberated in the synapse, the glutamate is captured by the astrocytes to produce lactate. This energy substrate is then transmitted to the neurons, which convert it very rapidly into energy (Journal of Neuroscience, 2011). This energy coupling is vital for major cerebral functions like learning or memory (Cell, 2011), and is also able temporarily to compensate the lack of glucose occurring, for example, after a stroke (Stroke, 2012).
Strokes are characterised by an interruption to part of the cerebral circulation, triggering the death of the first neurons located in the nonirrigated area within only a few minutes. This sensitivity is due to a combination of their high consumption of energy and their inability to store energy. David Attwell and his team have further shown that the neuronal cells are supplied more from blood capillaries than from arteries and arterioles. They have shown that the pericytes, which wrap around the cerebral blood capillaries, are able to control the blood pressure, and hence to regulate the blood flow in the brain (Nature, 2006). In the event of a stroke, these cells die quickly, permanently affecting the cerebral blood circulation and eventually preventing the complete recovery of the patient (Nature, 2014).
Thus, the research work carried out by the three laureates of the 27th Neuronal Plasticity prize of the Fondation IPSEN has enabled new paradigms to be established in neurosciences, which have both advanced our knowledge on the functioning of the brain and opened up new perspectives in biomedical research.


Nikos Logothetis (Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tubingen, Germany), President
Alim-Louis Benabid (Clinatec-LETI-Minatec, CEA, Grenoble, France)
Joël Bockaert (CNRS UMR 5203, Montpellier, France)
Alexis Brice (CRICM UMRS 975 - Hôpital de la Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France)
Yves Christen (Fondation IPSEN, Paris, France)
Stanislas Dehaene (Centre NeuroSpin, CEA/SAC/DSV/I2BM, Gift-sur-Yvette, France)
Kjell Fuxe (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden)
Fred Gage (Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, USA)
Ann Graybiel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)
Wolf Singer (Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany)

About the Neuronal Plasticity Prize

Founded in 1990, the Neuronal Plasticity Prize of La The Fondation IPSEN has been awarded to renowned specialists:

1990 ■ Neuronal grafting
Albert Aguayo (McGill University, Montreal, Canada), Anders Bjorklund (Lund University, Lund, Sweden) and Fred H. Gage (University of California San Diego, La Jolla, USA)

1991 ■ Plasticity in the visual system
Ursula Bellugi (Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, USA), Wolf Singer (Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany) and Torsten N. Wiesel (The Rockefeller University , New York, USA)

1992 ■ Interactions at the receptors level
Philippe Ascher (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France), Kjell Fuxe (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) and Terje Lømo (University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway)

1993 ■ Neuronal plasticity at the synaptic level in the hippocampus and the cerebellum
Per Andersen (University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway), Masao Ito (Riken Brain Science Institute, Wako Saitama, Japan) and Constantino Sotelo (INSERM Unité 106, Paris, France)

1994 ■ Neurotrophic factors
Mariano Barbacid (Bristol Myers-Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Princeton, USA), Yves-Alain Barde (Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Planegg-Martinsried, Germany) and Hans Thoenen (Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Planegg-Martinsried, Germany)

1995 ■ Cognitive processes in humans and primates
Jacques Melher (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France), Brenda Milner (McGill University, Montreal, Canada) and Mortimer Mishkin (National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, USA)

1996 ■ Axonal guidance
Friedrich Bonhoeffer (Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany) Corey S. Goodman (HHMI – University of California, Berkeley, USA) and Marc Tessier-Lavigne (HHMI – University of California, San Francisco, USA)

1997 ■ Brain maps and their plasticity
Antonio R. Damasio (University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA), Richard S.J. Frackowiak (Institute of Neurology, London, UK) and Michael M. Merzenich (University of California, San Francisco, USA)

1998 ■ Formation of synapses at the molecular level
Heinrich Betz (Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany), Gerald D. Fischbach (Harvard University, Boston, USA) and Uel J. McMahan (Stanford University, Stanford, USA)

1999 ■ Animal models
Masakazu Konishi (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA), Peter Marler (University of California, Davis, USA) and Fernando Nottebohm (The Rockefeller University, Millbrock, USA)

2000 ■ Neuromodulation in neuronal plasticity
Tomas Hökfelt (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden), Lars Olson (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) and Lars Terenius (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden)

2001 ■ Psychological development in children
Albert M. Galaburda (Harvard University, Boston, USA), John Morton (University College London, London, UK) and Elizabeth S. Spelke (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)

2002 ■ Stem cells in the central nervous system
Arturo Alvarez-Buylla (University of California, San Francisco, USA), Ronald D.G. McKay (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke – NIH, Bethesda, USA), and Samuel Weiss (University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)

2003 ■ Motor control
François Clarac (INPC, CNRS, Aix-Marseille II, Marseille, France), Sten Grillner (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) and Serge Rossignol (Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada)

2004 ■ Triplet diseases and neuronal plasticity
James F. Gusella (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA), Jean-Louis Mandel (CNRS – INSERM - ULP Strasbourg, France) and Huda Y. Zoghbi (HHMI – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA)

2005 ■ Motivation and associative learning
Ann M. Graybiel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA), Trevor W. Robbins (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK) and Wolfram Schultz (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

2006 ■ Synapse protein complexes in neuronal plasticity
Eckart D. Gundelfinger (Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany), Mary B. Kennedy (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA) and Morgan Sheng (RIKEN – HHMI – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)

2007 ■ Neurophysiology of cognition
Nikos K. Logothetis (Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany), Giacomo Rizzolatti (Universita di Parma, Parma, Italy) and Keiji Tanaka (RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako, Japan)

2008 ■ Molecular targets of drugs abuse
Jean-Pierre Changeux (CNRS URA – Institut Pasteur Paris, France), Peter W. Kalivas (University of South Carolina, Charleston, USA) and Eric J. Nestler (The University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, USA)

2009 ■ Brain-machine interaction
Alim-Louis Benabid (Inserm, Unité 318, Grenoble, France), Apostolos Georgopoulos (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA) and Miguel A.L. Nicolelis (Duke University, Durham, USA)

2010 ■ Neuroendocrine control of behavior
Bruce S. McEwen (The Rockefeller University, New York, USA), Thomas R. Insel (National Institute of Mental Health – NIH, Bethesda, USA), Donald W. Pfaff (The Rockefeller University, New York, USA)

2011 ■ Music and brain plasticity
Helen J. Neville (University of Oregon, Eugene, USA), Isabelle Peretz (University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada), Robert J. Zatorre (McGill University, Montreal, Canada)

2012 ■ Epigenetics and brain function
Catherine Dulac (Harvard University, Boston, USA), Michael J. Meaney (McGill University, Montreal, Canada), J. David Sweatt (University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA)

2013 ■ Mechanisms of memory
Tim V.P. Bliss (NIMR, Division of Neurophysiology, London, UK), Richard G.M. Morris (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK), Yadin Dudai (Weizman Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)

2014 ■ Neuropsychology of drug addiction
Barry J. Everitt (Department of Experimental Psychology ,University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK), George F. Koob (Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders Dept., The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA), Michel Le Moal (Unité Neurogenèse et Physiopathologie, Inserm U862 – Université Bordeaux Segalen, Bordeaux, France)

2015 ■ Genes, synapses, and psychiatric disorders
Mark F. Bear (Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT - HHMI, Cambridge, USA), David J. Porteous (Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK), Thomas Bourgeron (UMR 3571 Gènes, synapses et cognition, Institut Pasteur - CNRS, Paris, France)

2016 ■ Neuroenergetics
David Attwell (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, University College London, London, UK),
Pierre Magistretti (Brain Mind Institute, EPFL, Switzerland and Division of Biology, KAUST, Thuwal, KSA),
Marcus Raichle (Department of Neurology and Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, USA)

About the Fondation IPSEN

Established in 1983 under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the ambition of the Fondation IPSEN is to initiate a reflection about the major scientific issues of the forthcoming years. The long-standing mission of the Fondation IPSEN is to contribute to the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge by fostering interaction between scientists and clinicians. It has developed an important international network of scientific experts who meet regularly at meetings known as Colloques Médecine et Recherche, dedicated to three main topics: neurosciences, endocrinology and cancer science. Moreover the Fondation IPSEN has started several series of meetings in partnership with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Karolinska Institute as well as with the science journals Cell and Science. The Fondation IPSEN produced several hundred publications and more than 250 scientists have been awarded prizes and grants.

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