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Research Departments >Functional and Systems Neurobiology department > Neuron-glia networks lab > Research Report

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Neuron-glia networks lab

Our interest is focused on the molecular mechanisms and intercellular processes involved in bidirectional communication between neurons and astrocytes, the most abundant glial cell of the Nervous System (NS). The fully understanding of the features that rule this neuron-astrocyte signaling, and the implications it may have on different aspects of the physiology and pathology of the NS are the basis of our scientific goals.

Our lab focuses on two general lines of research that investigate the role of astrocytes in different aspects of the pathophysiology of the NS:

1. Neuron-Astrocyte signaling in healthy brain.
We aim to elucidate the role of astrocytes as code information units in brain circuits, determining how they can influence neuronal excitability and excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission in physiological processes.

2. Neuron-Astrocyte signaling in brain pathologies.

We are interested in the role of astrocytes in neuropathology. Understanding alterations in astrocyte activity and changes in neuron-astrocyte signaling concur with the diseases, will contribute to the knowledge of the molecular and cellular processes underlying brain dysfunctions.

Methodology:

The methodology we use in the lab to study and analyze neuron-glia signaling comprises:

  1. Electrophysiology techniques that allow to monitor single cell or population activity in vitro and in vivo
  2. Calcium imaging to monitor intracellular calcium activity of astrocytes and neurons
  3. Optogenetics (light stimulation)
  4. Pharmacogenetics (chemical stimulation).
These permit selective activation of cell populations either astrocytes or neuronal subtypes in order to elucidate its role in certain brain functions


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