Researchers at UCD


Caroline Herron

Senior Lecturer

School Of Biomolecular & Biomed Science
Conway Institute
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7166774


Honours and Awards

Year: 2005.
Title: Piccione Research Fellowship
Year: 2000.
Title: President Research Award UCD


Association: British Neuroscience Association, Function/Role: Local Group Representative
Association: BNA, Function/Role: Member
Association: American Society for Neuroscience, Function/Role: Member
Association: Neuroscience Ireland, Function/Role: Treasurer
Association: Physiological Society, Function/Role: Member


Committee : SBBS School Executive
Committee : SBBS Teaching and Learning Committee
Committee : Animal Research Ethics Committee
Committee : Health Research Board Neuroscience Panel
Committee : Treasurer of Neuroscience Ireland


Employer: University of Bristol
Position: Postdoctoral research assistant, Dept. of Pharmacology
Employer: University College London, England
Position: Postdoctoral fellow, Dept. of Pharmacology
Employer: Wyeth Research UK, Taplow, England
Position: Electrophysiologist
Employer: University of California, San Francisco, USA
Position: Research Fellow, Dept. Psychiatry
Employer: Edinburgh University
Position: Research Fellow, Centre for Genome Research


Year 1979 Institution: Southampton University
Qualification: BSc Subject:
Year 1984 Institution: Southampton University
Qualification: PhD Subject:

Other Activities

Piccionne Visiting Research Fellow, Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia, July--Oct 2005 Dept of Physiology and Pharmacology, Division of Opthalmology.



Peer Reviewed Journals

Brambilla, Gnesutta N, Minichiello L, White G, Roylance AJ, Herron CE, Ramsey M, Wolfer DP, Cestari V, Rossi-Arnaud C, Grant SG, Chapman PF, Lipp HP, Sturani E, Klein R. (1997) 'A role for the RAS signalling pathway in synaptic transmission and longterm memory'. Nature, 90 :281-286. [Details]
Freir, DB,Costello, DA,Herron, CE; (2003) 'A beta(25-35)-induced depression of long-term potentiation in area CA1 in vivo and in vitro is attenuated by verapamil'. Journal of Neurophysiology, 89 :3061-3069. [DOI] [Details]
Freir, DB,Herron, CE; (2003) 'Inhibition of L-type voltage dependent calcium channels causes impairment of long-term potentiation in the hippocampal CA1 region in vivo'. Brain Research, 967 :27-36. [DOI] [Details]
Freir, DB,Herron, CE; (2003) 'Nicotine enhances the depressive actions of A beta(1-40) on long-term potentiation in the rat hippocampal CA1 region in vivo'. Journal of Neurophysiology, 89 :2917-2922. [DOI] [Details]
Costello, D. A.,Herron, C. E.; (2004) 'The role of c-Jun N-terminal kinase in the A beta-mediated impairment of LTP and regulation of synaptic transmission in the hippocampus'. Neuropharmacology, 46 (5):655-62. [Details]
Costello, DA,O'Leary, DM,Herron, CE; (2005) 'Agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma attenuate the A beta-mediated impairment of LTP in the hippocampus in vitro'. Neuropharmacology, 49 :359-366. [DOI] [Details]
Minogue, AM,Lynch, AM,Loane, DJ,Herron, CE,Lynch, MA; (2007) 'Modulation of amyloid-beta-induced and age-associated changes in rat hippocampus by eicosapentaenoic acid'. Journal of neurochemistry, 103 :914-926. [DOI] [Details]
Brian O'Nuallain, Darragh B. Freir, Andrew J. Nicoll, Emmanuel Risse, Neil Ferguson, Caroline E. Herron, John Collinge,and Dominic M. Walsh ; (2010) 'Amyloid beta-protein dimers rapidly form stable synaptotoxic protofibrils'. Journal of Neuroscience, 30 (43):14411-14419. [Details]
Charles Métais1, Kathryn Brennan1, Alex J. Mably1, Michael Scott1, Dominic M. Walsh1, Caroline E. Herron1 (2013) 'Simvastatin Treatment Preserves Synaptic Plasticity in AβPPswe/ PS1dE9 Mice'. Journal of Alzheimers Disease, . Link to full text [Details]
Andrew J. Nicoll1, Silvia Panico2,w, Darragh B. Freir1,3, Daniel Wright1, Cassandra Terry1, Emmanuel Risse1, Caroline E. Herron3, Tiernan¿Malley3,4, Jonathan D.F. Wadsworth1, Mark A. Farrow1, Dominic M. Walsh4, Helen R. Saibil2 & John Collinge1 (2013) 'Amyloid-b nanotubes are associated with prion protein-dependent synaptotoxicity'. Nature Communications, (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3):1-9. Link to full text [Details]
Schmid AW, Freir, DB & Herron CE; (2008) 'Inhibition of LTP in vivo by beta-amyloid peptide in different conformational states. Brain Res 1197, 135-42'. BRAIN RESEARCH, 1197 :135-142. [Details]
Da Silva, N., Herron, C. E., Stevens, K., Jollimore, C. A. B., Barnes, S., Kelly, M. E. M., ; (2008) 'Metabotropic receptor-activated calcium increases and store-operated calcium influx in mouse Muller cells'. Investigative Ophthalmology &Amp; Visual Science, 49 (7):3065-3073. [Details]
Herron CE, Schmid AW, Lynch MA, ; (2009) 'The effects of IL-1 receptor antagonist on beta amyloid mediated depression of LTP in the rat CA1 in vivo'. Hippocampus, 19 (7):670-676. [DOI] [Details]
Welzel, A. T., Smith, I. M., Herron, C., Selkoe, D. J., Walsh, D. M., ; (2008) 'Purification of distinct assembly forms of cell-derived Alzheimer amyloid-beta protein'. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 197 (2):164-164. [Details]
Cumiskey, D, Curran, BP, Herron, CE, OConnor, JJ, ; (2007) 'A role for inflammatory mediators in the IL-18 mediated attenuation of LTP in the rat dentate gyrus'. Neuropharmacology, 52 :1616-1623. [Details]
Costello DA, Herron CE; (2004) 'A role for peroxisome proliferator activated receptors in the ß-amyloid (Aß[1-40]) mediated impairment of hippocampal long-term potentiation in vitro'. JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY, . [Details]
Minogue, AM; Schmid, AW; Fogarty, MP; Moore, AC; Campbell, VA; Herron, CE; Lynch, MA; ; (2003) 'Activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase signaling cascade mediates the effect of amyloid-beta on long term potentiation and cell death in hippocampus - A role for interleukin-1 beta?'. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 278 (30):27971-27980. [Details]
Freir, DB; Holscher, C; Herron, CE; ; (2001) 'Blockade of long-term potentiation by beta-amyloid peptides in the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus in vivo'. Journal of Neurophysiology, 85 (2):708-713. [Details]
Freir, DB; Herron, CE; ; (2001) 'The effects of the L-type Ca2+ channel agonist bay K8644 and APV on LTP in the hippocampal CA1 region in vivo'. British Journal of Pharmacology, 134 (NA). [Details]
Freir, DB; Holscher, C; Herron, CE; ; (2000) 'beta-amyloid fragments cause depletion of LTP in area CA1 in the in vivo anaesthetised rat'. Journal of Physiology-London, 523 (NA):204-205. [Details]

Conference Publications

Blathnaid Hughes, Darren Walsh, Eoin Minnock, Caroline Herron (2013) Beta Amyloid mediated blockade of Long Term Potentiation in the CA1 region of mouse hippocampal slices is partially attenuated by Cannabidiol The 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research British Journal of Pharmacology on line abstract, , pp.P20-P20 [Details]
Bláthnaid Hughes, Caroline Herron (2013) Effects of Cannabidiol on Beta Amyloid Mediated Attenuation of Long Term Potentiation in the CA1 Region of Mouse Hippocampal Slices British Neuroscience Association BNA Proc. on line abstracts, [Details]
Blathnaid Hughes, Alison Sweeney, Cian Ward & Caroline Herron. (2012) An Investigation of a Role for Adenosine and Endocannabinoids and a Possible Interaction Between their Receptors, in the CA1 & Dentate Gyrus of Control and APPswe/PS1dE9 mice Neuroscience Ireland Irish Journal of Medical Science, [Details]
Herron, C.E and Metais, C; (2010) Effects of Chronic and Acute Simvastatin on Neuronal Excitability and LTP in APPswe/PS1dE9 mice International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease , 10-JUL-10 - 15-JUL-10 [Details]
Herron C.E and Metais, C; (2010) Effects of simvastatin on synaptic transmission and LTP in the hippocampal CA1 region in APPSWE/PS19ED and control mice European Winter conference for Brain Research France, [Details]
Metais, C and Herron C.E; (2010) Chronic simvastatin treatment reduces plasma cholesterol and attenuates the impairment of long-term potentiation in APP/PS1DE9 mouse hippocampal slices Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Dublin, [Details]
O'Leary D.M., Grennan G.Z., O'Connor J.J. and Herron C.E.; (2006) The role of arachidonic acid signalling in mGluR mediated long term depression in the rat hippocampus British Journal of Pharmacology, Vol 3, Issue 4, 152P [Details]
Metais C and Herron CE; (2009) Effects of Chronic and Acute Simvastatin Treatment on Synaptic Transmission in Hippocampal Slices from C57Black 6J Mice Physiological Society [Details]
Metais C and Herron CE; (2009) Effects of acute and chronic simvastatin on synaptc transmission and LTP in the CA1 region of mouse hippocampal slices American Society for Neuroscience [Details]
Batti, L., Taylor, C., Sheridan, G., Herron, C.E., O¿Connor, J.J. ; (2008) Differential responses to hypoxia in the rat hippocampus CA1 and dentate gyrus regions in vitro American Society for Neuroscience [Details]
Welzel, A. T., Smith, I. M., Herron, C., Selkoe, D. J., Walsh, D. M., ; (2008) Journal of Neuroimmunology Purification of distinct assembly forms of cell-derived Alzheimer amyloid-beta protein , pp.164-164 [Details]
Herron, C., Grennan G., Dolan C., O¿Connor J., O¿Leary D. ; (2006) Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Dependent Long-Term Depression in the Hippocampus: Involvement of Endocannabinoid Signaling via TRPV1 16th Annual Symposium on the Cannabinoids, June 26th. Tihany, Hungary [Details]
O¿Leary D., Grennan GZ, O¿Connor, JJ and Herron, CE. ; (2005) Inhibition of DHPG induced LTD in the hippocampal CA1 in vitro European Brain and Behaviour Society 37th Annual Meeting, TCD [Details]
Costello, DA, Herron, CE, ; (2004) NEUROPHARMACOLOGY The role of c-Jun N-terminal kinase in the A beta-mediated impairment of LTP and regulation of synaptic transmission in the hippocampus , pp.655-662 [DOI] [Details]
Cronin, D., McHale, J., Moriarty, D., Herron, C. & O'Connor, J.J.; (2001) Measurement of sevofluorane in artificial cerebrospinal fluid by gas chromatography headspace analysis Irish journal of Medical Science, 170(3) [Details]
Dunne, E.M., O'Connor, J.J. and Herron, C.E.; (1999) Nicotine modulates synaptic transmission in the rat dentate gyrus in vitro Irish journal of Medical Science, 168(4) [Details]
O'Leary, D., Grennan, G.Z., O'Connor, J.J. and Herron, C.E.; (2005) The Role of Arachidonic Acid Metabolites in mGluR mediated Long Term Depression in the Rat Hippocampus Conway Institute Festival of Research UCD, , 15-SEP-05 [Details]
O'Leary, D.M., Grennan, G.Z., O'Connor, J.J. and Herron, C.E; (2005) The role of arachidonic acid signalling in mGluR mediated long term depression in the rat hippocampus British Pharmacological Society Winter meeting London, , 20-SEP-05 - 22-SEP-05 [Details]


Research Interests

My research spans the neurobiology of synaptic transmission and plasticity associated with cellular models of learning and addiction. My specific interests are in the mechanisms that underlie both hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) and Long-term Depression (LTD). In view of the alterations in cognition associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), my group has investigated the effects of beta amyloid peptide (A?), known to be associated with this neurodegenerative disease. More recently, we have also developed an in vivo model of plasticity examining the pathway from the ventral tegmentum to the nucleus accumbens, which we plan to use to study changes associated with addiction.

Recent research also includes:
1. Electrophysiological recording from the rat hippocampus in vivo following icv. injection of beta amyloid peptide (Aß) and subsequent biochemical analysis of the stimulated brain tissue to examine changes in kinase and cytokine activity, using Western blotting techniques and phospho-specific antibodies and ELISA (Minogue et al., 2003; J.Biol.Chem 278:27971-80)

2. Electrophysiological recording from in vitro hippocampal slices to investigate the molecular mechanism of action of Aß. We have examined

a) Aß-mediated activation of stress activated kinase c-jun-n-terminal kinase (JNK) by using a selective antagonist SP600125 and demonstrated that this kinase is involved in synaptic transmission and also in the neurotoxic effects of Aß (Costello and Herron, 2004, Neuropharm. 46, 655-662
b) Interactions with the L-type voltage gated calcium channel by examining the effects of channel blockers that are presently used in the clinic (Freir et al., 2003, J.Neurophysiol. 89:3061-9)
c) Evidence for an interaction between the high-affinity binding site on the beta 7-neuronal nicotinic receptor and Aß the alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (Freir and Herron 2003, J.Neurophysiol. 89:2917-22)
d) Effects of perixosome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) agonists on Aß mediated deficits in hippocampal LTP (Costello and Herron 2004,J Physiol. 555P, C43; Costello, O'Leary and Herron, 2005 Neuropharm. in press)

Present research on Aß: A further study of inflammatory mediators on hippocampal synaptic plasticity and function was funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Currently, Dr Antonio Campos Torres is working on neuronal/glial interactions and the effects of amyloid beta and agonists at PPAR receptors using confocal microscopy

3. An investigation of how metabotropic glutamate receptors activation in vitro mediates long-term synaptic depression in the CA1 region of to hippocampus in vitro via interaction with cellular signalling pathways associated with inflammation. (Dr Deirdre O'Leary, funded by IRCSET)

4. Electrophysiological recording in vivo from the nucleus accumbens and plasticity associated with stimulation of the ventral tegmental area and subsequent modulation of dopaminergic signalling as a model of addiction. (Dr Franck Martial) Funded by the HEA.

Research Projects

Sponsor : Health Research Board (HRB)
Title : Molecular basis for B-Anyloid mediated neurotoxicity on symaptic transmission and long-term potentiation
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-00 / 30-SEP-03
Sponsor : Health Research Board (HRB)
Title : Electrophysiological patch recording to investigate mechanisms of neuronal degeneration
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-00 / 30-APR-01
Sponsor : Enterprise Ireland (EI)
Title : Mechanism of Action of Acute bets Aamyloid peptide on LTP in vivo. Electrophysiolgical and Biochemical analysis
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-01 / 30-SEP-04
Sponsor : Higher Education Authority (HEA)
Title : Mechanism of Action of Neuropeptide Regulation of Synaptic Transmission in the Nucleus Accumbens: The Action of Acute and Chronic Psychostimulants
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-02 / 30-SEP-05
Sponsor : Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET)
Title : Electrophysiological and biochemical investigation of the cyclo oxygenase 2 (COX 2) - Signalling pathway in Hippocampal Synaptic plasticity
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-02 / 30-SEP-05
Sponsor : Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)
Title : Investigation of inflammatory mediators in hippocampal synaptic transmission and plasticity
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-04 / 31-JAN-07
Sponsor : Health Research Board (HRB)
Title : Effect of altered cholesterol and lipid metabolism on synaptic plasticity: possible neuroprotective effects in transgenic model of Alzheimer's disease
Start Date / End Date : 03-OCT-05 / 01-JAN-10
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Investigation of the Molecular Mechanism of beta-Amyloid Peptides on Synaptic Transmission and long term potentiation
Start Date / End Date : 01-AUG-01 / 31-JUL-03
Sponsor : Health Research Board (HRB)
Title : Investigation of beta amyloid mediated inflammatory mechanisms in altered synaptic plasticity: a role for cannabinoids?
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-09 / 30-SEP-13
Sponsor : Health Research Board (HRB)
Title : Effect of statins on hippocampal long-term depression
Start Date / End Date : 14-JUN-10 / 08-AUG-10
Sponsor : The Wellcome Trust (WT)
Title : The acute and chronic effects of Cannabidiol on beta amyloid mediated attenuation of Long term potentiation
Start Date / End Date : 11-JUN-13 / 05-AUG-13

Recent Postgraduates

2003 Dr Darragh Freir;

2004 Dr Derek Costello;

2005, Dr Adrien Schmid.

2012 Dr Charles Metais


Teaching Philosophy

Cell memebrane Biology, Biophysics and electrical signalling in neurones. Synaptic transmission and plasticity, Neuronal network circuits and integration of signalling. Mechanisms of pain transduction, etc.
Year 1, year 3 and 4 Neuroscience


Internal Collaborators

Dr. Derek Costello

External Collaborators

Prof Marina Lynch, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience: Investigation of inflammatory cytokines and synaptic plasticity in models of Alzheimer's disease.
Prof Dominic Walsh, Harvard University: Quantification of beta amyloid peptide in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, synaptic plasticity