NEURONAL NETWORK DYSFUNCTION IN NEUROLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS

Principal Investigators

JORDI ALBERCH

Director, Full Professor

Neuronal connectivity in Huntington’s disease and basal ganglia disorders

ALBERT GIRALT

Ramon y Cajal Researcher (Assistant Professor)

Hippocampal function in health and disease

MERCE MASANA

Assistant Professor

Modulation of neuronal circuitry in brain disorders

MANUEL RODRIGUEZ

Associate Professor

Neuron-glia interactions in neurodegenerative disorders

Research team

 

Ivan Ballasch

Early Stage Researcher

 

Sara Conde

Early Stage Researcher

 

Esther Garcia

Early Stage Researcher

 

Laura Lopez

Early Stage Researcher

 

Ened Rodriguez

Early Stage Researcher

 

Anna Sancho

Early Stage Researcher

 

Laia Sitja

Early Stage Researcher

 

Albert Coll

Technician

 

Carmen Andrade

Technician

 

Research Interest

 

Growing evidence has indicated the existence of deleterious networks in the brain of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, depression or schizophrenia. The deleterious neural networks are formed on the basis of intimate interactions among key pathogenic factors. These deleterious networks could be the common pathway of these brain disorders, triggering of which by aging, certain genetic and environmental factors leading to a cascade of pathological alterations of the illnesses. Understanding the mechanisms that modulate connectivity and plasticity of neural circuitry is crucial to develop new network-based therapeutical strategies.

Technologies & Methods

 

  • In vivo and in vitro optogenetics and optopharmacology
  • Mouse behavioural analysis
  • Neuroimaging
  • Immunostainings and in situ hybridisation
  • Advanced microscopy and confocal
  • Calcium imaging
  • Branching and dendritic network analysis
  • Histological techniques
  • Electrophysiology in slices of brain (MEA)
  • Primary cultures of neural cells. Astrocytes, neurons, oligodendrocytes
  • Biochemical tests: western blot, ELISA, enzymatic phosphatase and kinase activities
  • Stereotaxic surgery in animals (mice and rats)
  • Implantation of subcutaneous and intracerebral osmotic pumps in rodents
  • Techniques of molecular biology. qRT-PCR and PCR

Featured Projects

 

    • Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED). Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Jordi Alberch

 

    • Definiendo el rol de la familia Ikaros en la esquizofrenia (DISC). RETOS. MINECO. RTI2018-094678-A-100. Albert Giralt

 

    • Identification of chorein function in neurodegeneration of the basal ganglia for developing new therapeutical approaches in Chorea-Acanthocytosis. Fundación ChAc. Jordi Alberch/Manuel J Rodriguez Allue/ Merce Masana

 

    • Neuronal network dynamics modulation as therapeutic strategy to recover basal ganglia dysfunction in movement disorders. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. SAF2017-88076-R. Jordi Alberch / Manuel Rodriguez Alue

 

    • Non-invasive dynamic neural control by laser-based technology (NEUROPA). FET-Open (H2020). Grant agreement 863214. Merce Masana.

Featured Publications

 

    • Fernández-García, S., Orlandi, J. G., García-Díaz Barriga, G. A., Rodríguez, M. J., Masana, M., Soriano, J., & Alberch, J. (2020). Deficits in coordinated neuronal activity and network topology are striatal hallmarks in Huntington’s disease. BMC Biology, 18(1), 58. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-020-00794-4

 

    • Sancho-Balsells, A., Brito, V., Fernández, B., Pardo, M., Straccia, M., Ginés, S., Alberch, J., Hernández, I., Arranz, B., Canals, J. M., & Giralt, A. (2020). Lack of Helios During Neural Development Induces Adult Schizophrenia-Like Behaviors Associated With Aberrant Levels of the TRIF-Recruiter Protein WDFY1. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 14, 93. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2020.00093

 

    • Llorach-Pares, L., Rodriguez-Urgelles, E., Nonell-Canals, A., Alberch, J., Avila, C., Sanchez-Martinez, M., & Giralt, A. (2020). Meridianins and Lignarenone B as Potential GSK3β Inhibitors and Inductors of Structural Neuronal Plasticity. Biomolecules, 10(4), 639. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10040639

 

    • Fernández-García, S., Conde-Berriozabal, S., García-García, E., Gort-Paniello, C., Bernal-Casas, D., García-Díaz Barriga, G., López-Gil, J., Muñoz-Moreno, E., Soria, G., Campa, L., Artigas, F., Rodríguez, M. J., Alberch, J., & Masana, M. (2020). M2 cortex-dorsolateral striatum stimulation reverses motor symptoms and synaptic deficits in Huntington’s disease. eLife, 9, e57017. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.57017

 

    • Kim, A., García-García, E., Straccia, M., Comella-Bolla, A., Miguez, A., Masana, M., Alberch, J., Canals, J. M., & Rodríguez, M. J. (2020). Reduced Fractalkine Levels Lead to Striatal Synaptic Plasticity Deficits in Huntington’s Disease. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 14, 163. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2020.00163

 

    • de Pins, B., Cifuentes-Díaz, C., Farah, A. T., López-Molina, L., Montalban, E., Sancho-Balsells, A., López, A., Ginés, S., Delgado-García, J. M., Alberch, J., Gruart, A., Girault, J. A., & Giralt, A. (2019). Conditional BDNF Delivery from Astrocytes Rescues Memory Deficits, Spine Density, and Synaptic Properties in the 5xFAD Mouse Model of Alzheimer Disease. Journal of Neuroscience, 39(13), 2441–2458. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2121-18.2019

 

    • Montalban, E., Al-Massadi, O., Sancho-Balsells, A., Brito, V., de Pins, B., Alberch, J., Ginés, S., Girault, J. A., & Giralt, A. (2019). Pyk2 in the amygdala modulates chronic stress sequelae via PSD-95-related micro-structural changes. Translational Psychiatry, 9(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-018-0352-y

 

    • Giralt, A., Brito, V., Chevy, Q., Simonnet, C., Otsu, Y., Cifuentes-Díaz, C., de Pins, B., Coura, R., Alberch, J., Ginés, S., Poncer, J. C., & Girault, J. A. (2017). Pyk2 modulates hippocampal excitatory synapses and contributes to cognitive deficits in a Huntington’s disease model. Nature Communications, 8, 15592. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15592

 

    • García-Díaz Barriga, G., Giralt, A., Anglada-Huguet, M., Gaja-Capdevila, N., Orlandi, J. G., Soriano, J., Canals, J. M., & Alberch, J. (2017). 7,8-dihydroxyflavone ameliorates cognitive and motor deficits in a Huntington’s disease mouse model through specific activation of the PLCγ1 pathway. Human Molecular Genetics, 26(16), 3144–3160. https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx198

 

    • Marco, S., Giralt, A., Petrovic, M. M., Pouladi, M. A., Martínez-Turrillas, R., Martínez-Hernández, J., Kaltenbach, L. S., Torres-Peraza, J., Graham, R. K., Watanabe, M., Luján, R., Nakanishi, N., Lipton, S. A., Lo, D. C., Hayden, M. R., Alberch, J., Wesseling, J. F., & Pérez-Otaño, I. (2013). Suppressing aberrant GluN3A expression rescues synaptic and behavioral impairments in Huntington’s disease models. Nature Medicine, 19(8), 1030–1038. https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3246

Knowledge transfer & Innovation

 

  • Cytes Biotechnologies. Spin off. Jordi Alberch
  • Methods and pharmaceutical composition for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease. Inserm/UB.BIO17159. PCT/EP2018/057462. Jean Antoine Girault, Albert Giralt, Veronica Brito i Silvia Gines
  • Photostimulation with REGEnLIFE devices in rodent models of neurological disorders. Universitat de Barcelona/RegenLife. Albert Giralt