High-throughput microscopy exposes a pharmacological window in which dual leucine zipper kinase inhibition preserves neuronal network connectivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Marlies Verschuuren
  • Peter Verstraelen
  • Gerardo Garcia-Diaz Barriga
  • Ines Cilissen
  • Emma Coninx
  • Mieke Verslegers
  • Peter Larsen
  • Rony Nuydens
  • Winnok H. De Vos

Institutes & Expert groups

  • UA - Universiteit Antwerpen
  • Janssen Research and Development - Department of Neuroscience
  • UGent - Universiteit Gent

Documents & links


Therapeutic developments for neurodegenerative disorders are redirecting their focus to the mechanisms that contribute to neuronal connectivity and the loss thereof. Using a high-throughput microscopy pipeline that integrates morphological and functional measurements, we found that inhibition of dual leucine zipper kinase (DLK) increased neuronal connectivity in primary cortical cultures. This neuroprotective effect was not only observed in basal conditions but also in cultures depleted from antioxidants and in cultures in which microtubule stability was genetically perturbed. Based on the morphofunctional connectivity signature, we further showed that the effects were limited to a specific dose and time range. Thus, our results illustrate that profiling microscopy images with deep coverage enables sensitive interrogation of neuronal connectivity and allows exposing a pharmacological window for targeted treatments. In doing so, we revealed a broad-spectrum neuroprotective effect of DLK inhibition, which may have relevance to pathological conditions that ar.e associated with compromised neuronal connectivity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number93
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2019


  • Neuronal connectivity, Neuronal network, Synapse, Calcium imaging, High-content screening, Neurodegeneration, Antioxidant depletion, hTau.P301L

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