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Previous news

Signing of an R&D contract to verify a possible therapeutic approach against Alzheimer's disease

The CSIC has signed an R&D contract with the biotechnology company Tetraneuron for the development of agents able to block neuronal tetraploidization...


La fórmula de las decisiones en grupo

Un individuo aislado se basa en la información que le rodea y en sus experiencias previas para tomar una decisión. No obstante, dentro de un colectivo, esta opción está influenciada por las decisiones individuales que elije cada miembro del grupo. Una investigación del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) ha desarrollado una fórmula matemática que refleja la probabilidad de escoger una u otra opción dentro de un grupo de la misma especie. Dicha fórmula apareció recogida ayer en la revista Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


A study published in Development reveals a mechanism that prevents alterations in neuronal production during the development of the vertebrate nervous system

A multidisciplinary team from the Cajal Institute, the National Center for Biotechnology, and the University of Barcelona has discovered that the lateral inhibition process during neurogenesis, known to be regulated by the Notch receptor and its ligand Delta, is altered a the  neurogenic wavefront (i.e. the edge between the expanding region of the neuroepithelium showing neurogenic capacity and the adjacent non-neurogenic area).


desarrollo embrionario
Researchers at the Cajal Institute discover common features in the proteins that trigger neurodegenerative diseases

A study reveals common features in the proteins that trigger neurodegenerative diseases

• The results may provide new targets for prevention, early diagnosis and therapy of these devastating diseases.

• It has been published in the last issue of ‘PLoS Biology’, being selected as a journal cover with a special comment.

Rubén Hervás, Javier Oroz, Albert Galera‐Prat, Oscar Goñi, Alejandro Valbuena, Andrés M Vera, Àngel
Gómez‐Sicilia, Fernando Losada‐Urzáiz, Vladimir N. Uversky, Margarita Menéndez, Douglas V
Laurents, Marta Bruix, Mariano Carrión‐Vázquez (2012). Common Features at the Start of the
Neurodegeneration Cascade
. PLoS Biol 10(5): e1001335. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001335.

Janelle Weaver (2012) Single‐Molecule Technique Links Structural Fluctuations of Proteins
to Brain Diseases
. PLoS Biol 10(5): e1001338. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001338.


Identification of signals coordinating formation of the peripheral
nervous system during embryonic development


FGF and retinoic acid activity gradients control the timing of neural crest cell emigration in the trunk. Patricia L. Martínez-Morales, Ruth Diez del Corral, Isabel Olivera-Martínez, Alejandra C. Quiroga, Raman M. Das, Julio A. Barbas, Kate G. Storey, and Aixa V. Morales. 2011. The Journal of Cell Biology. 194:489-503. Doi:10.1083/jcb.201011077.


desarrollo embrionario

New Research: "The relationship between animal behavior in gusts and decision making"

The de Polavieja Lab at the Cajal Institute has recently published an article in PLoS Computational Biology, the leading journal in Computational Biology featuring works of exceptional significance in Biology using computational methods.


Transition to seizure in human epilepsy

Brief and synchronous inter-ictal events can occur between seizures. Using human tissue samples and electroencephalography, a recent study by Liset Menendez de la Prida and her colleagues Richard Miles and Gilles Huberfeld shows that the transition from pre-ictal discharge to ictal discharge involves distinct temporal and spatial characteristics as well as glutamatergic mechanisms.




Uncovered a novel mechanism regulating neurogenesis in the vertebrate nervous system

The so-called “Neuronal Generation and Degeneration in Vertebrates” group of the Cajal Institute has been actively working for years on the analysis of the mechanism regulating the expression and function of proneural and neurogenic genes during the cell cycle in neural precursor cells.



actividad cerebral

FUNDALUCE award for research in hereditary retinal dystrophies to Paola Bovolenta. 25-11-2010

El viernes 26 de noviembre, a las 18:00 h., se celebra la XII Jornada de entrega de Premios a la Investigación “Fundación Lucha contra la Ceguera” (FUNDALUCE), con el lema: “La ceguera puede vencerse. Alternativas terapéuticas”. En dicho marco se entregará la Ayuda 2009 a la Investigación en Distrofias Hereditarias de Retina otorgada por FUNDALUCE a la Dra. Dña. Paola Bovolenta. ver+

New multi-site probes developed by the team of Liset M. de la Prida

The team leaded by Dr. Liset Menendez de la Prida is interested in designing and producing new multisite probes for high-density single-cell recording and integrated functionalities, including microfluidity channels, new material coating and optical stimulation. This research programme is funded by an ERANET-NEURON project.



actividad cerebral

Deciphered the mechanism that adjusts the number of neurons to the body size 03-09-2010

Peripheral neurons are produced in high numbers, a process followed by the death of those neurons that do not have access to the neurotrophins nerve growth factor (NGF) or neurotrophin-3 (NT3). An international team including a member of the Cajal Institute has found that it is the expression of the NGF and NT3 receptors TrkA and TrkB what induces apoptosis in neurons lacking their ligands. In contrast, the brain-derived neutrophic factor (BDNF) receptor TrkB, which is highly expressed in the central nervous system, does not induce neuronal death in the absence of its ligand. Therefore, the classical neurotrophic mechanism promoted by NGF and NT3 in the peripheral nervous system seems to have raised during vertebrate evolution in parallel with the diversification of the Trk receptors, which have acquired proapoptotic activity in the peripheral nervous system.

Nikoletopoulou, H. Lickert, J. M. Frade, C. Rencurel, P. Giallonardo, L. Zhang, M. Bibel, Y. Barde. Neurotrophin receptors TrkA and TrkC cause neuronal death whereas TrkB does not. Nature (2010) 467: 59-64.


The "vicious cycle" that spread neuronal degeneration in Alzheimer patient has been described 26-07-2010

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by progressive neuronal degeneration throughout different cerebral regions, a process initiated at the basal forebrain. Researchers from the Cajal Institute have proposed a hypothesis to explain this dynamic process. They propose the existence of a feedback cycle that propagates neuronal degeneration in the AD brain. Oxidative stress would favor the expression of NGF, a neurotrophin known to activate the membrane receptor p75 triggering cell cycle progression and DNA duplication. ver+


European ERANET NEURON project for Liset Menendez de la Prida 02-02-2010

Liset Menendez de la Prida (Instituto Cajal, CSIC), along with Heinz Beck and the Research Center Caesar in Bonn (Germany) , Rosa Cossart (France) and Ilan Lampl (Israel) has been selected in the 2009 call of the European Eranet Neuron initiative with the project: "EPINET: Understanding and manipulating epileptic networks with optical stimulation and advanced population recording techniques". The major goal is to bring together a number of novel techniques in neuroscience research to the study of epilepsy, with a especial emphasis on open questions regarding changes in dendritic processing, microcircuit reorganization and altered hippocampal oscillations. The techniques include i) multiphoton uncaging and imaging techniques, ii) optogenetic stimulation techniques, iii) multi-electrode and optical population recording techniques that simultaneously sample activity from many neurons, and iv) in-vivo multi-unit and patch-clamp recording techniques in freely moving animals.

Foundation stone laying ceremony celebrates the construction start for a new Cajal Institute headquarter. 20-01-2010

Laying of the first stone of the definitive headquarter of the Cajal Institute. The new headquarter of the Cajal Institute will be built on land ceded by the Alcala de Henares University. New building will occupy an area of about 20,000 square meters . ver+

European Project for Eranet SysBio + 2010 Gonzalo García de Polavieja 29-12-2009

Gonzalo García de Polavieja (Instituto Cajal, CSIC), along with German sumbrad (ENS, France), Uwe Straehle (ITG, Germany) and Elad Schneideman (Weizmann, Israel) has obtained a European project Eranet SysBio + 2010 titled "Understanding making decisions based on the dynamics of neuronal populations in zebrafish." more+

Discovered a novel mechanism generating DNA duplication in neurons 15-12-2009

Tetraploid neurons are nervous cells containing double the normal amount of DNA in their nuclei and, therefore, of large size. These neurons are believed to arise from aberrant divisions during the development of the nervous system, and their presence in the brain has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. A study led by a group of the Cajal Institute demonstrates that a molecular mechanism exist during development leading to the generation of tetraploid neurons. This finding, included in the last issue of Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, shed new light on the mechanisms involved in nervous system development and the origin of neurodegenerative diseases. more+

Jornadas Científicas de Navidad en el Cajal - días 21 al 23 de December 09-12-2009

Como cada año el Cajal Institute va a celebrar las Jornadas Científicas de Navidad. Este año han sido organizadas por las Comisiones de Seminarios e Institucional y hemos cambiado un poco el formato. El mayor cambio ha sido el integrar en nuestro programa científico a jóvenes investigadores que actualmente trabajan como investigadores postdoctorales en el extranjero. Pretendemos que estos investigadores den a conocer su trabajo en nuestro Instituto, a fin de generar espacios de interacción de cara a futuras incorporaciones o colaboraciones. more+

"Reunión conjunta del Instituto de Neurociencias y del Cajal Institute." 18-11-2009

Los próximos dias 16 y 17 de November de 2009 se celebrará en la ciudad de Cuenca una reunión conjunta del Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante con el Cajal Institute, ambos centros pertenecientes al CSIC -Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-.

Activities Program

"Formulan una teoría que explica rasgos aparentemente mal optimizados durante la evolución ." 11-11-2009

Muchos sistemas biológicos son prácticamente óptimos para las funciones que realizan. Es el caso del sistema nervioso que, según observo Santiago Ramón y Cajal, está optimizado para utilizar la mínima cantidad de cable posible, ahorrando así costes y espacio. more+

"Genetic inactivation of dopamine D1 receptors, but not D2 receptors, inhibits dyskinesia and histone phosphorylation induced by L-DOPA." 02-10-2009

Pharmacological studies have implicated dopamine D1-like receptors in the development of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesias and associated molecular changes in hemiparkinsonian mice.. more+

"Identified the strongest protein ever known." 11-9-2009

► escafoldina, una proteína bacteriana, es el doble de robusta que la proteína más resistente conocida hasta la fecha: la titina, el ‘muelle biológico’ de los músculos

► El estudio sugiere que la escafoldina podría tener potenciales aplicaciones en la mejora de métodos de obtención de bioalcohol y en el desarrollo de microchips. more+

"Un estudio describe el papel de los astrocitos en la migración de neuronas a su destino." 5-8-2009

El fenómeno de generación masiva de neuronas que ocurre cada día en el cerebro implica la migración de miles de neuronas que deben moverse varios milímetros entre su origen y su destino final. more+

"Blockade of IL-15 activity inhibits microglial activation through the NF B, p38, and ERK1/2 pathways, reducing cytokine and chemokine release." 16-07-2009

La activación microglial es un fenómeno gobernado por la acción de moléculas inflamatorias, en el curso de las enfermedades neurodegenerativas o los fenómenos traumáticos en el sistema nervioso central. Un reciente estudio publicado en GLIA describe el modo de acción de un factor clave en el desarrollo de dicha activación, la interleuquina 15. La acción de esta molécula permite la coordinación de la activación microglial, apareciendo el uso de estrategias bloqueantes de su actividad como una interesante estrategia antiinflamatoria.



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