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Research Departments >Functional and Systems Neurobiology department > Neuroimmunology Group> Research Report

Research Report Personnel Publications Other

Neuroimmunology Group

The communication between the nervous and the immune system is crucial in physiological and pathological conditions. Our research focuses on the study the molecular mechanisms underlying CNS inflammatory processes and their impact in the endogenous repair mechanisms in demyelinating pathologies such as multiple sclerosis.

Research Project 1: Cannabinoid System and Neuroinflammation in experimental models of multiple sclerosis: Therapeutic implications in remyelination processes.

Our group has shown that the cannabinoid system is a potential therapeutic target in in multiple sclerosis (MS) models. Our interest focus on the study of the regulation of immune-inflammatory responses and their impact in the remyelination/repair processes with a multidisciplinary approach. The oligodendrocyte precursors (OPCs) express functional cannabinoid receptors involved in cell survival and differentiation mechanisms. We are interested in studying the dynamic behavior of oligodendrocyte populations together with microglia and astrocytes, whose interactions in turn, might affect the phenomenon of remyelination and the endogenous repair mechanisms. We will specifically focus on endocannabinoid signaling on astrocytes in the modulation of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans as the accumulation of these macromolecules in MS lesions impede remyelination.

Research Project 2: Microbiota and Neuroinflammation: Role of gut microbiota in severity and pathologic characteristics of experimental models of progressive MS.

Changes in the composition and function of the microbiota affect neuroinflammation, immune signaling and CNS function. Our group is developing an intense activity in animal models of progressive MS to investigate whether alterations in the microbiota attenuate the inflammatory response, improve the motor function and the pathology of the disease. We also try to identify possible mechanisms involved in the communication gut-brain, with special emphasis in the role of some immunoactive metabolites produced by the microbiota. For this we integrate multiple approaches at different levels, gut, peripheral immune system and CNS.

Most relevant methodology

  • Cellular cultures (purified populations: astrocytes, microglia, oligodendrocytes, OPCs and neurons; mixed cultures and co-cultures astrocytes-neurons;microglia-neurons; brain endotelial cells-astrocytes).
  • Immune cells cultures (macrophages; lymphocytes)
  • Cell lines (microglia: Bv2; brain endotelium, bend5; macrophages, RAW264.7)
  • Motor Function tests (activity cage; rotarod)
  • Real time PCR (Taqmann)
  • ELISAs and RIAs
  • FACs; sorting
  • Western-blotting
  • Immunocytochemistry; Immunohistochemistry
  • Models for multiple sclerosis: Theiler’s virus model and EAE.

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