NEUROPHARMACOLOGY AND PAIN

Principal Investigators

Ester Aso

Associate Professor

Cannabinoids in brain

Jordi Bonaventura

Ramon y Cajal Researcher

Translational Neuropharmacology

Francisco Ciruela

Full Professor

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in Neurology

Victor Fernandez-Duenas

Associate Professor

Pain

Research team

 

Maria Laura Cuffi

Associate Professor

 

Sebastian Videla

Associate Professor

 

Pilar Hereu

Assistant Professor

 

Marc Lopez-Cano

Assistant Professor

 

Kristoffer Sahlholm

Postdoctoral Researcher

 

Josep Argerich

Early Stage Researcher

 

Hector Godoy

Early Stage Researcher

 

Laura Gomez-Acero

Early Stage Researcher

 

Nuria Sanchez-Fernandez

Early Stage Researcher

 

Laura Sarasola

Early Stage Researcher

 

Marta Valle-Leon

Early Stage Researcher

 

Salut Sanchez

Technician

Research Interest

 

The research conducted in our group is mainly focused on seeking new pharmacological strategies to reach an effective management of neurological, neuropsychiatric and pain diseases. Our aim consists of providing a deep mechanistic understanding of neurotransmitter receptors functioning which may help to design combined therapies or oligomer-tailored drugs in the near future. In addition, our interests include the development and implementation of novel biotechnological methodologies (e.g. fluorescence based biosensors, photopharmacology, etc.) that may eventually evolve into new tools for both the study and diagnostic of diseases.

Finally, our main goal is the translation of our results from the bench to the bedside and to clinical practice. Accordingly, to translate basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions for patients we are also involved in clinical pharmacology studies, specially pharmacoepidemiological studies and clinical trials.

Technologies & Methods

 

  • Molecular and in cell studies: Drug design, GPCR structure-acticity relationship, BRET, FRET, TR-FRET, biosensors, real-time single cell FRET, NanoBRET, fluorescent ligands, photopharmacology, primary neuronal cultures and brain slices, electrophysiology
  • In animal studies: Pharmacological and genetic animal models for neurological diseases and pain (i.e. Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, schizophrenia and Pain). Knock-out animals for GPCRs
  • In human studies: Peripheral and central biomarkers for neurological diseases, epidemiological studies

Featured Projects

 

    • Cannabinoid actions in the diseased brain. Unión Iberoamericana de Universidades. UCM-02-2019. Ester Aso

 

    • Cannabinoid development for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo (CYTED). P219RT0008. Ester Aso

 

    • Ecto-GPR37: a potential biomarker for Parkinson’s disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). MJFF-001051. Francisco Ciruela

 

    • El complejo trans-sináptico formado por CB1-A2A y mGlu5 en el hipocampo como sustrato de los efectos terapéuticos de los cannabinoides en la enfermedad de Alzheimer. Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades. RTI2018- 097773-A-I00. Ester Aso

 

    • Iluminando los receptores de dopamina, adenosina y GPR37 en enfermedades neurológicas y neuropsiquiátricas. Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. SAF2017-87349-R. Francisco Ciruela

 

    • Música en el tratamiento del dolor con analgésicos opioides. Sociedad Española del Dolor. Víctor Fernández-Dueñas

 

    • Neurofarmacologia i dolor. Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca. 2017SGR1604. Francisco Ciruela

 

    • Vulnerabilidad a los efectos psicóticos del THC durante la adolescencia: implicación de la interacción entre los receptores CB1, A2A y D2. 2020I041. Plan Nacional sobre Drogas. Ester Aso

Featured Publications

 

    • Valle-León, M., Callado, L. F., Aso, E., Cajiao-Manrique, M. M., Sahlholm, K., López-Cano, M., Soler, C., Altafaj, X., Watanabe, M., Ferré, S., Fernández-Dueñas, V., Menchón, J. M., & Ciruela, F. (2021). Decreased striatal adenosine A2A-dopamine D2 receptor heteromerization in schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology, 46(3), 665–672. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-020-00872-9

 

    • Morató, X., Garcia-Esparcia, P., Argerich, J., Llorens, F., Zerr, I., Paslawski, W., Borràs, E., Sabidó, E., Petäjä-Repo, U. E., Fernández-Dueñas, V., Ferrer, I., Svenningsson, P., & Ciruela, F. (2021). Ecto-GPR37: a potential biomarker for Parkinson’s disease. Translational Neurodegeneration, 10(1), 8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40035-021-00232-7

 

    • Aso, E., Fernández-Dueñas, V., López-Cano, M., Taura, J., Watanabe, M., Ferrer, I., Luján, R. & Ciruela, F. (2019). Cannabidiol blunts ∆9-THC-induced cognitive impairment through putative pre-synaptic adenosine A2A-cannabinoid CB1 receptor heteromers in the hippocampus. Molecular Neurobiology, 56(8), 5382–5391. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12035-018-1456-3

 

    • Morató, X., Gonçalves, F. Q., Lopes, J. P., Jauregui, O., Soler, C., Fernández-Dueñas, V., Cunha, R. A., & Ciruela, F. (2019). Chronic adenosine A2A receptor blockade induces locomotor sensitization and potentiates striatal LTD IN GPR37-deficient mice. Journal of Neurochemistry, 148(6), 796–809. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnc.14653

 

    • Sahlholm, K., Gómez-Soler, M., Valle-León, M., López-Cano, M., Taura, J. J., Ciruela, F., & Fernández-Dueñas, V. (2018). Antipsychotic-Like Efficacy of Dopamine D2 Receptor-Biased Ligands is Dependent on Adenosine A2A Receptor Expression. Molecular Neurobiology, 55(6), 4952–4958. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12035-017-0696-y

 

    • Font, J., López-Cano, M., Notartomaso, S., Scarselli, P., Di Prieto, P., Bresolí-Obach, R., Battaglia, G., Malhaire, F., Rovira, X., Catena, J., Giraldo, J., Pin, J. P., Fernández-Dueñas, V., Goudet, C., Nonell, S., Nicoletti, F., Llebaria, A., & Ciruela, F. (2018). Correction: Optical control of pain in vivo with a photoactive mGlu5 receptor negative allosteric modulator. eLife, 7, e34752. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.34752

 

    • Morató, X., Luján, R., Gonçalves, N., Watanabe, M., Altafaj, X., Carvalho, A. L., Fernández-Dueñas, V., Cunha, R. A., & Ciruela, F. (2018). Metabotropic glutamate type 5 receptor requires contactin-associated protein 1 to control memory formation. Human Molecular Genetics, 27(20), 3528–3541. https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy264

 

    • Taura, J., Nolen, E. G., Cabré, G., Hernando, J., Squarcialupi, L., López-Cano, M., Jacobson, K. A., Fernández-Dueñas, V., & Ciruela, F. (2018). Remote control of movement disorders using a photoactive adenosine A2A receptor antagonist. Journal of Controlled Release, 283, 135–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.05.033

 

    • Morató, X., Luján, R., López-Cano, M., Gandía, J., Stagljar, I., Watanabe, M., Cunha, R. A., Fernández-Dueñas, V., & Ciruela, F. (2017). The Parkinson’s disease-associated GPR37 receptor interacts with striatal adenosine A2A receptor controlling its cell surface expression and function in vivo. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 9452. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-10147-x

 

    • Sokolina, K., Kittanakom, S., Snider, J., Kotlyar, M., Maurice, P., Gandía, J., Benleulmi-Chaachoua, A., Tadagaki, K., Oishi, A., Wong, V., Malty, R. H., Deineko, V., Aoki, H., Amin, S., Yao, Z., Morató, X., Otasek, D., Kobayashi, H., Menendez, J., Auerbach, D., … Stagljar, I. (2017). Systematic protein-protein interaction mapping for clinically relevant human GPCRs. Molecular Systems Biology, 13(3), 918. https://doi.org/10.15252/msb.20167430

Knowledge transfer & Innovation

 

    • Confidential. Laboratorios del Dr. Esteve, S.A. 310048. Francisco Ciruela

 

    • Method to Identify Ligands for SIGMA-1 Receptors. Laboratorios del Dr. Esteve, S.A. WO/2013/104648. Javier Burgueño-Hurtado, Francisco Ciruela-Alferez y Jose Miguel Vela-Hernandez