Research

Han Hongbin's team awarded for excellent project on brain ECS

APR . 18 2019
Peking University, April 18, 2019: Hosted by Beijing Association for Science and Technology, the first Conference on Capital Scientific and Technological Innovation Achievement Exhibition was held on March 30. With “Imaging and Measurement Techniques of Brain ECS”, Professor Han Hongbin’s team from Peking University Third Hospital won the Excellent Project Award. 


Award ceremony at the conference (Han Hongbin in the middle)

At the conference, Han Hongbin introduced to the audience about his team’s achievements in this project. As the immediate accommodation space for neural cells and neural networks, the brain extra cellular space (ECS) is active in a number of brain functions and is related to several brain diseases. It makes up 20% of the normal brain volume, which is far more than the volume of cerebral vessels. However, researches related to brain ECS remain rare. After over ten years of research, Han Hongbin’s team have made remarkable discoveries. They find that the brain ECS is a division system. Based on the law of molecule movements in brain ECS, they verify the divisional drainage route of interstitial fluid (ISF), which solves the mystery of the brain lymphatic vasculature and the drainage pathway of brain ISF.

To investigate the brain ISS in the deep center of the brain, the team develops a tracer-based MRI technique for measurement. This technique can trace water molecules in the brain ECS and make quantitative measurement. Also, the research team discovers that the functional division of brain ECS is either immature or degraded among infants, the elderly and patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Based on this result, the team presents a new theory on brain disorders and points out a new direction of therapy. At present, the new imaging technique and measurement equipment have been applied in the field of brain science, pharmacy, aerospace industry, artificial intelligence and tumor therapy.


Han Hongbin introducing their research achievements

According to Han Hongbin, a deeper understanding of brain ECS promotes the development of brain science. Through an accurate delivery method, drugs can bypass the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and directly change the cellular microenvironment of the targeted area. Compared with standard trials, this novel method is more efficient, targeted and has limited side effects.

In 2017, Progress in Neurobiology, one of the top journals in neurobiology, published the team’s research on brain ECS as a cover story.

Written by: Wang Yupin
Edited by: Huang Yadan
Source: PKU News (Chinese)