Aging and Neurodegeneration Research Unit

NEUROCHEMISTRY LABORATORY

Staff

 

Staff

 


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From 1984 to date studies were conducted on the effects of 50 Hz electromagnetic fields chronic exposure on neurotransmitters and receptors in rat brain. Our findings showed that short term exposure to electromagnetic fields causes stimulation of serotoninegic and ╬╝-opiate system, while a long term exposure induces inhibition of these systems.

From 1997 to 1999 the synthesis of nitric oxide, its release and its role in neuroinflammatory disorders have been investigated. The role of nitroxyl in nitric oxide synthesis has been described in a model system. The release of nitric oxide and its conversion to nitrite and nitrate in neuronal cultures was reported showing the involvement of different types of glutamate receptors in this process. The levels of nitric oxide metabolites in cerebrospinal fluid of normal subjects and their increase in multiple sclerosis and other neuroinflammatory diseases were reported.

From 1984 to 1989 studies on pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of benzodiazepines and anti-inflammatory drugs were developed. At the same time investigations on GABAergic system were performed.

From 1990 to date extensive studies on the structure, synthesis and role of neuromelanin in human brain were performed. Neuromelanin is a black-brown pigment that accumulates during aging in neurons of different human brain areas. The most pigmented regions of the brain are S├Âmmering's substantia nigra and locus coeruleus, known targets of Parkinson's disease and related disorders. Extensive studies were performed to understand the role of neuromelanin in brain aging and neurodegeneration.

In this area, the research unit contributed with very important results and is worldwide recognized as one of the leading laboratories in this field.