Bente Pakkenberg

​Head of Laboratory

Contact: +45 38635939 /

I have a background as one of the main founders of the concept of neurostereology in close collaboration with professor emeritus Hans Jørgen Gundersen, Aarhus University. Through the 1990ies and onward I and my collaborators have applied the new scientific field, neurostereology, to human brains to describe structural changes caused by gender, age and disease. The methods include the physical and optical disector, the fractionator, and the nucleator that have been applied to brains from subjects with e.g. schizophrenia, Alzheimer´s dementia, chronic alcoholism, AIDS, ALS, and Parkinson´s disease. The main focus of the projects has been to obtain data for the human brain using methods that are superior to those previously available. Secondly, to be able to explain functional deficits from anatomical changes.

I have taught/organized or coorganized ≥80 national or international stereology courses and act as international expert in neurostereology and continuously supervise students in the application of stereological methods. Recently we have been setting up a molecular unit at the research laboratory to unite the techniques of stereology with the methods of molecular biology. The present and future aims are to apply stereology and molecular biology to animal models of brain disorders and to perform translational studies on animal models and postmortem human brains with special focus on neurodegenerative diseases such as Multiple System Atrophy and Parkinson´s disease. It is our goal to combine broad expertise with human brain processing, all-round histological stainings and neuroanatomical resolution with molecular biology, immunohistochemistry and in situ-hybridization.

​Publications the last 5 years

Folke J, Rydbirk R,  Løkkegaard A, Salvesen L,  Hejl AM,  Starhof C, Bech S, Winge K, Christensen S, Østergaard Pedersen L, Aznar S, Pakkenberg B,  Brudek T. Distinct Autoimmune Anti-α-Synuclein Antibody Patterns in Multiple System Atrophy and Parkinson’s Disease. Frontiers in Immunology 2019, 2253

Forsberg K, Graffmo K, Pakkenberg B, Weber M, Nielsen M, Marklund S, Brännström T, Andersen P. Misfolded SOD1 inclusions in patients with mutations in C9orf72 and other ALS/FTD-associated genes. J Neurol, Neurosurg, and Psychiatry, ID jnnp-2018-319386.R2, in press

Eriksen N, Rostrup E, Fabricius M, Scheel M, Major S, Winkler MKL, Bohner G, Santos E, Sakowitz OW, Kola V, Reiffurth C, Hartings JA, Vajkoczy P, Woitzik J, Martus P, Lauritzen L, Pakkenberg B, Dreier JP. Early focal brain injury after subarachnoid hemorrhage correlates with spreading depolarizations. Neurology, 22;92(4),326-341,2019

Perry JC, PakkenbergB, Vann SD. Striking reduction in neurons and glial cells in anterior thalamic nuclei of older patients with Down’s Syndrome. Neurobiol Aging, 75:54-61, 2019

Rydbirk R, Elfving B; Folke J; Pakkenberg B, Winge K, Brudek T, Aznar S. Short Communications. Increased interleukin-2 protein levels in the prefrontal cortex of progressive supranuclear palsy patients, Scientific rapport. 23:9:7781, 2019

Alemu J, Elberling F, Azam B, Pakkenberg B, Olesen MV. Chronic restraint stress, but not electroconvulsive stimulation, causes volumetric changes in hippocampal subdivisions of adult rats - a stereological study, Brain Behav. 2019

Eriksen N, Pakkenberg B, Rostrup E, Okonkwo DO, Mathern B, Shutter LA, Strong AJ Woitzik J, Pahl C, Dreier JP, Martus P, Lauritzen MJ, Fabricius M, Hartings JA. Neurostereologic lesion volumes and spreading depolarizations in severe traumatic brain injury patients. Neurocritical Care, 30(3):557-568, 2019

Pakkenberg B, Olesen MV, Kaalund SS, Dorph-Petersen KA. Editorial: Neurostereology. Front Neuroanat 16:13:42, 2019
Villumsen M, Aznar S, Pakkenberg B, Brudek T, Jess T. Author response: Association between inflammatory bowel disease and Parkinson's disease: seek and you shall find? Gut ;0:1. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317336. 2018
Villumsen M, Aznar S, Pakkenberg B, Jess T, Brudek T. Inflammatory bowel disease increases the risk of Parkinson's disease: a Danish nationwide cohort study 1977-2014. Gut.68(1):18-24, 2019
Folke J, Pakkenberg B, BrudekT. Impaired canonical Wnt signaling in the prefrontal cortex in Alzheimer. Molecular Neurobiology,56(2):873-891, 2019
Bidhendi EE, Bergh J, Zetterström P, Forsberg K, Pakkenberg B, Andersen PM, Marklund SL, Brännström T. Mutant superoxide dismutase aggregates from human spinal cord transmit amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Acta Neuropathologica, Volume 136, Issue 6, pp 939–953, 2018
Madsen JB, Folke J, Pakkenberg B. Stereological quantification of plaques and tangles in cerebral neocortex from Alzheimer’s Disease Patients. J Alzheimer´s Disease (JAD)J Alzheimers Dis. 64(3):723-734, 2018
Betzer C, Lassen LB, Olsen A, Kofoed RH, Reimer L, Gregersen E, Zheng J, Calì T, Gai WP, Chen T, Moeller A, Brini M, Fu Y, Halliday G, Brudek T, Aznar S, Pakkenberg B, Andersen JP, Jensen PH. Alpha-synuclein aggregates activate calcium pump SERCA leading to calcium dysregulation. EMBO Rep., 19(5), 2018
Wiese AS, Needham EK, Noer CL, Balsby TJS, Dabelsteen T, Pakkenberg B. The number of neurons in specific amygdala regions is associated with boldness in mink: a study in animal personality. Brain Struct Funct. 2018 Jan 9. 

Rydbirk R, Elfving B, Andersen MD, Langbøl MA, Folke J, Winge K, Pakkenberg B, Brudek T, Aznar S. Cytokine profiling in the prefrontal cortex of Parkinson's Disease and Multiple System Atrophy patients. Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Oct;106:269-278.
Olesen MV, Needham EK, Pakkenberg B. The Optical Fractionator Technique to Estimate Cell Numbers in a Rat Model of Electroconvulsive Therapy. J Vis Exp. 2017 Jul 9;(125).
Brudek T, Winge K, Folke J, Christensen S, Fog K, Pakkenberg B, Pedersen LØ.
Autoimmune antibody decline in Parkinson's disease and Multiple System Atrophy; a step towards immunotherapeutic strategies. Mol Neurodegener. 2017 Jun 7;12(1):44.
Carassiti D, Altmann DR, Petrova N, Pakkenberg B, Scaravilli F, Schmierer K.
Neuronal loss, demyelination and volume change in the multiple sclerosis
neocortex. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2017 Apr 18.
Nykjaer CH, Brudek T, Salvesen L, Pakkenberg B. Changes in the cell population
in brain white matter in multiple system atrophy. Mov Disord. 2017 Apr 10. 
Hervig ME, Jensen NCH, Rasmussen NB, Rydbirk R, Olesen MV, Hay-Schmidt A,
Pakkenberg B, Aznar S. Involvement of serotonin 2A receptor activation in
modulating medial prefrontal cortex and amygdala neuronal activation during
novelty-exposure. Behav Brain Res. 2017 May 30;326:1-12. 
Rydbirk R, Folke J, Winge K, Aznar S, Pakkenberg B, Brudek T. Assessment of
brain reference genes for RT-qPCR studies in neurodegenerative diseases. Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 17;6:37116.
Olesen MV, Wörtwein G, Folke J, Pakkenberg B. Electroconvulsive stimulation
results in long-term survival of newly generated hippocampal neurons in rats.
Hippocampus. 2017 Jan;27(1):52-60. 
Kjær M, Fabricius K, Sigaard RK, Pakkenberg B. Neocortical Development in
Brain of Young Children-A Stereological Study. Cereb Cortex. 2016 Oct 12. 
Bergström A, Kaalund SS, Skovgaard K, Andersen AD, Pakkenberg B, Rosenørn A,
van Elburg RM, Thymann T, Greisen GO, Sangild PT. Limited effects of preterm
birth and the first enteral nutrition on cerebellum morphology and gene
expression in piglets. Physiol Rep. 2016 Jul;4(14). pii: e12871. 
Dreier JP, Fabricius M, Ayata C....., Pakkenberg B, ..... Hartings JA. Recording, analysis, and interpretation of spreading depolarizations in neurointensive care: Review and recommendations of the COSBID research group. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2017 May;37(5):1595-1625.

Brudek T, Winge K, Rasmussen NB, Bahl JM, Tanassi J, Agander TK, Hyde TM,
Pakkenberg B. Altered α-synuclein, parkin, and synphilin isoform levels in
multiple system atrophy brains. J Neurochem. 2016 Jan;136(1):172-85.
Salvesen L, Winge K, Brudek T, Agander TK, Løkkegaard A, Pakkenberg B.
Neocortical Neuronal Loss in Patients with Multiple System Atrophy: A
Stereological Study. Cereb Cortex. 2017 Jan 1;27(1):400-410.
Ejlerskov P, Hultberg JG, Wang J, Carlsson R, Ambjørn M, Kuss M, Liu Y, Porcu
G, Kolkova K, Friis Rundsten C, Ruscher K, Pakkenberg B, Goldmann T, Loreth D,
Prinz M, Rubinsztein DC, Issazadeh-Navikas S. Lack of Neuronal IFN-β-IFNAR Causes Lewy Body- and Parkinson's Disease-like Dementia. Cell. 2015 Oct 8;163(2):324-39.
Chakraborty M, Walløe S, Nedergaard S, Fridel EE, Dabelsteen T, Pakkenberg B,
Bertelsen MF, Dorrestein GM, Brauth SE, Durand SE, Jarvis ED. Core and Shell Song
Systems Unique to the Parrot Brain. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 24;10(6):e0118496. 
Petersen PM, Seierøe K, Pakkenberg B. The total number of Leydig and Sertoli 
cells in the testes of men across various age groups - a stereological study. J
Anat. 2015 Feb;226(2):175-9. 
Mortensen HS, Pakkenberg B, Dam M, Dietz R, Sonne C, Mikkelsen B, Eriksen N. 
Quantitative relationships in delphinid neocortex. Front Neuroanat. 2014 Nov
Salvesen L, Ullerup BH, Sunay FB, Brudek T, Løkkegaard A, Agander TK, Winge
K, Pakkenberg B. Changes in total cell numbers of the basal ganglia in patients
with multiple system atrophy - A stereological study. Neurobiol Dis. 2015
Karlsen AS, Korbo S, Uylings HB, Pakkenberg B. A stereological study of the
mediodorsal thalamic nucleus in Down syndrome. Neuroscience. 2014 Oct
Olesen MV, Wörtwein G, Pakkenberg B. Electroconvulsive stimulation, but not
chronic restraint stress, causes structural alterations in adult rat
hippocampus--a stereological study. Hippocampus. 2015 Jan;25(1):72-80.
Sigaard RK, Kjær M, Pakkenberg B. Development of the Cell Population in the
Brain White Matter of Young Children. Cereb Cortex. 2016 Jan;26(1):89-95. 
Walløe S, Pakkenberg B, Fabricius K. Stereological estimation of total cell
numbers in the human cerebral and cerebellar cortex. Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Jul 15;8:508. 
Eriksen N, Rasmussen RS, Overgaard K, Johansen FF, Pakkenberg B. Comparison
of quantitative estimation of intracerebral hemorrhage and infarct volumes after 
thromboembolism in an embolic stroke model. Int J Stroke. 2014 Aug;9(6):802-10.