Cellular and molecular anatomy of the human neuromuscular junction

About the project

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is the synapse formed between lower motor neuron and skeletal muscle fibre and is known to be an early target in a number of neurodegenerative conditions including motor neurone disease (MND).

The majority of research into these conditions utilises animal models of disease that ultimately require translation to the human condition. Our work to date has uncovered significant differences in the cellular and molecular composition of the human NMJ compared to those of commonly used rodent models; these findings will aid in the translation of therapies developed in animal models to people with neurodegenerative conditions.


Jones RA, Harrison C, Eaton SL, Llavero Hurtado M, Graham LC, Alkhammash L, Oladiran OA, Gale A, Lamont DJ, Simpson H, Simmen MW, Soeller C, Wishart TM, Gillingwater TH.
Cellular and Molecular Anatomy of the Human Neuromuscular Junction.
Cell Rep. 2017 Nov 28;21(9):2348-2356.

Primary location


Principal Investigator

Other people involved

University of Edinburgh

  • Ines Boehm (PhD student), Gillingwater Laboratory
  • Thomas Gillingwater, Edinburgh Medical School
  • Thomas Wishart, Roslin Institute
  • Martin Simmen, Biomedical Sciences
  • Richard Ribchester, Edinburgh Medical School
  • Hamish Simpson, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Roderick Chalmers, Department of Vascular Surgery
  • Richard Skipworth, Department of Upper GI Surgery
  • Philippa Rust, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Scott Pirie, The Royal (Dick) School
  • Eddie Clutton, The Royal (Dick) School


University of Exeter

  • Christian Soeller, Physics and Astronomy