Dr Scherazad Kootar


Postdoctoral Fellow

9399 1043

Scherazad completed her PhD in 2017 from the University Cote d’Azur, France studying the relation between Alzheimer’s disease and stress in transgenic mice models. She is passionate about studying Neuroscience and have gained experience in the MRI Radiology and Neurology department at Hospitals in Mumbai. Scherazad is interested to translate her knowledge and experience from basic science to applied science. Currently she works as a Research assistant in the team of Professor Kaarin Anstey. She is interested in the epidemiologic aspects of ageing and preventive and risk factors associated to dementia. She is developing online modules on dementia literacy and risk prevention.

Projects Dr Scherazad Kootar is currently involved with


The Dementia Risk Factors and Assessment (DemRisk) program

The Dementia Risk Factors and Assessment (DemRisk) program involves over ten years of research performed by the Anstey group on the identification and assessment of risk factors for Dementia.

The DemRisk program includes:

  • Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of dementia risk and protective factors
  • Analysis of cohort studies to identify dementia risk and protective factors
  • Development of evidence-based interventions for dementia risk reduction
  • Development of innovative e-learning resources to support dementia risk reduction
  • Development of risk assessment tools validated for assessing individual exposure to risk factors known to be associated with an increased risk of developing dementia
  • Development of guidelines (e.g. physical activity guidelines) to reduce risk of cognitive decline and dementia in collaboration with other researchers and organisations including the World Health Organisation
  • Training of early career researchers with a focus on identifying and targeting dementia risk

Read Professor Kaarin Anstey and Dr Ruth Peters’ recent invited commentary on second-hand smoke as an under-recognised risk factor for cognitive decline here. You can also watch Professor Anstey’s NeuRAtalk on ageing well to reduce your risk of dementia here.


The Dementia Risk Factors and Assessment (DemRisk) program


DINAZ PAREKH Research Assistant : (02) 9399 1815
: d.parekh@neura.edu.au

KIRSTY ZMISA Executive Assistant : 9399 1021
: k.zmisa@neura.edu.au


Identification of an acute functional cross-talk between amyloid-β and glucocorticoid receptors at hippocampal excitatory synapses.

Kootar S, Frandemiche ML, Dhib G, Mouska X, Lorivel T, Poupon-Silvestre G, Hunt H, Tronche F, Bethus I, Barik J, Marie H

Amyloid-β is a peptide released by synapses in physiological conditions and its pathological accumulation in brain structures necessary for memory processing represents a key toxic hallmark underlying Alzheimer's disease. The oligomeric form of Amyloid-β (Aβο) is now believed to represent the main Amyloid-β species affecting synapse function. Yet, the exact molecular mechanism by which Aβο modifies synapse function remains to be fully elucidated. There is accumulating evidence that glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) might participate in Aβο generation and activity in the brain. Here, we provide evidence for an acute functional cross-talk between Aβ and GRs at hippocampal excitatory synapses. Using live imaging and biochemical analysis of post-synaptic densities (PSD) in cultured hippocampal neurons, we show that synthetic Aβo (100 nM) increases GR levels in spines and PSD. Also, in these cultured neurons, blocking GRs with two different GR antagonists prevents Aβo-mediated PSD95 increase within the PSD. By analyzing long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in ex vivo hippocampal slices after pharmacologically blocking GR, we also show that GR signaling is necessary for Aβo-mediated LTP impairment, but not Aβo-mediated LTD induction. The necessity of neuronal GRs for Aβo-mediated LTP was confirmed by genetically removing GRs in vivo from CA1 neurons using conditional GR mutant mice. These results indicate a tight functional interplay between GR and Aβ activities at excitatory synapses.

A novel natural product inspired scaffold with robust neurotrophic, neurogenic and neuroprotective action.

Chakravarty S, Maitra S, Reddy RG, Das T, Jhelum P, Kootar S, Rajan WD, Samanta A, Samineni R, Pabbaraja S, Kernie SG, Mehta G, Kumar A

In search for drugs to treat neuropsychiatric disorders wherein neurotrophic and neurogenic properties are affected, two neurotrophically active small molecules specially crafted following natural product leads based on 2-oxa-spiro[5.5]-undecane scaffold, have been thoroughly evaluated for their neurotrophic, neurogenic and neuroprotective potential in ex vivo primary culture and in vivo zebrafish and mouse models. The outcome of in vivo investigations suggest that one of these molecules is more neurotrophic than neurogenic while the other one is more neurogenic than neurotrophic and the former exhibits remarkable neuroprotection in a mouse acute ischemic stroke model. The molecular mechanisms of action of these compounds appear to be through the TrkB-MEK-ERK-CREB-BDNF pathway as pre-treatment with neurotrophin receptor TrkB inhibitor ANA-12 and MEK inhibitor PD98059 attenuates the neurotrophic action of compounds.

η-Secretase processing of APP inhibits neuronal activity in the hippocampus.

Willem M, Tahirovic S, Busche MA, Ovsepian SV, Chafai M, Kootar S, Hornburg D, Evans LD, Moore S, Daria A, Hampel H, Müller V, Giudici C, Nuscher B, Wenninger-Weinzierl A, Kremmer E, Heneka MT, Thal DR, Giedraitis V, Lannfelt L, Müller U, Livesey FJ, Meissner F, Herms J, Konnerth A, Marie H, Haass C

Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid plaques, which are predominantly composed of amyloid-β peptide. Two principal physiological pathways either prevent or promote amyloid-β generation from its precursor, β-amyloid precursor protein (APP), in a competitive manner. Although APP processing has been studied in great detail, unknown proteolytic events seem to hinder stoichiometric analyses of APP metabolism in vivo. Here we describe a new physiological APP processing pathway, which generates proteolytic fragments capable of inhibiting neuronal activity within the hippocampus. We identify higher molecular mass carboxy-terminal fragments (CTFs) of APP, termed CTF-η, in addition to the long-known CTF-α and CTF-β fragments generated by the α- and β-secretases ADAM10 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10) and BACE1 (β-site APP cleaving enzyme 1), respectively. CTF-η generation is mediated in part by membrane-bound matrix metalloproteinases such as MT5-MMP, referred to as η-secretase activity. η-Secretase cleavage occurs primarily at amino acids 504-505 of APP695, releasing a truncated ectodomain. After shedding of this ectodomain, CTF-η is further processed by ADAM10 and BACE1 to release long and short Aη peptides (termed Aη-α and Aη-β). CTFs produced by η-secretase are enriched in dystrophic neurites in an AD mouse model and in human AD brains. Genetic and pharmacological inhibition of BACE1 activity results in robust accumulation of CTF-η and Aη-α. In mice treated with a potent BACE1 inhibitor, hippocampal long-term potentiation was reduced. Notably, when recombinant or synthetic Aη-α was applied on hippocampal slices ex vivo, long-term potentiation was lowered. Furthermore, in vivo single-cell two-photon calcium imaging showed that hippocampal neuronal activity was attenuated by Aη-α. These findings not only demonstrate a major functionally relevant APP processing pathway, but may also indicate potential translational relevance for therapeutic strategies targeting APP processing.

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