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 neuron disease.

The majority of research into these conditions utilises animal models of disease that will ultimately require translation to the patient setting. 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 patients with these conditions.


Cahalan SD
Boehm I
Jones RA
Piercy RJ
Recognising the potential of large animals for modelling neuromuscular junction physiology and disease
Journal of Anatomy
2022 Sep 02
Cahalan SD, Perkins J, Boehm I, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH, Piercy RJ
A method to identify, dissect and stain equine neuromuscular junctions for morphological analysis
Journal of Anatomy
2022 Sep 29
Roesl C, Evans ER, Dissanayake KN, Boczanadi V, Jones RA, Jordan GR, Ledahawsky L, Allen GCC, Scott M, Thomson A, Wishart TM
Hughes DI, Mead RJ, Shone CC, Slater CR, Gillingwater TH, Skehel PA, Ribchester RR
Confocal endomicroscopy of neuromuscular junctions stained with physiologically inert protein fragments of tetanus toxin
Biomolecules. 11, 1499
2021 Oct 12
Alhindi A, Boehm I, Forsythe RO, Miller J, Skipworth RJE, Simpson H, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH
Terminal Schwann Cells at the Human Neuromuscular Junction
Brain Communications (open access)
2021 Apr 15
Boehm I, Alhindi A, Leite AS, Logie C, Gibbs A, Murray O, Farrukh R, Pirie R, Proudfoot C, Clutton R, Wishart TM, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH
Comparative anatomy of the mammalian neuromuscular junction
Journal of Anatomy (open access)
2020 Jun 20
Minty G, Hoppen A, Boehm I, Alhindi A, Gibb L, Potter E, Wagner BC, Miller J, Skipworth RJE, Gillingwater TH, Jones RA
aNMJ-morph: a simple macro for rapid analysis of neuromuscular junction morphology
Royal Society Open Science (open access)
2020 May 15
Boehm I, Miller J, Wishart TM, Wigmore SJ, Skipworth RJE, Jones RA, Gillingwater TH
Neuromuscular junctions are stable in patients with cancer cachexia
Journal of Clinical Investigation
2019 Dec 03
Minty G, Hoppen A, Boehm I, Alhindi A, Gibb L, Potter E, Wagner B, Miller J, Skipworth R, Gillingwater TH, Jones RA
aNMJ-morph: a simple macro for rapid analysis of neuromuscular junction morphology
Royal Society Publishing (op[en access)
2020 Apr 15
Jones RA, Harrison C, Eaton SL, Hurtado ML, 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 Reports (open access)
2017 Nov 28
Jones RA, Reich CD, Dissanayake KN, Kristmundsdottir F, Findlater GS, Ribchester RR, Simmen MW, Gillingwater TH
NMJ-morph reveals principal components of synaptic morphology influencing structure-function relationships at the neuromuscular junction
Open Biology (open access)
2016 Dec 06

Primary location


Principal Investigator

Other people involved

University of Edinburgh

  • Thomas Gillingwater, Edinburgh Medical School
  • Thomas Wishart, Roslin Institute
  • 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
  • Kosala Dissanayake, Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences
  • Abrar Alhindi (PhD student; co-supervision with Gillingwater lab)
  • Abdullah Ramadan (PhD student; co-supervision with Gillingwater lab)


University of Exeter

  • Christian Soeller, Physics and Astronomy