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Research Group
Ocular neurobiology
Unit Unit Cellular and Systems Neurobiology »

Principal Investigator Associated Professor Ph.D. Investigator Graduate students / Research Assistant Master Students Technician
Research Fields
The main interest of the Ocular Neurobiology Group (ONG) is to study the functional activity of sensory nerves from the ocular surface, responsible for the genesis of sensations evoked by stimulation of ocular tissues as well as for the trophic maintenance and correct moisturizing of the ocular surface. Using both, electrophysiological techniques (recording nerve activity of sensory receptors in nerve endings and axons) and psychophysical studies (analysing the evoked sensations), the ONG investigates the functional characteristics of the primary sensory neurons innervating the anterior surface of the eye with particular attention to those neurons participating in ocular sensations of dryness, discomfort and pain.

The ONG has described the sensitivity of the ocular surface to selective stimulation in healthy subjects, as well as the correlation between electrical activity in ocular sensory nerves and sensations evoked in humans; the changes in ocular sensitivity in different pathologies, after ocular refractive surgery or with the use of different ophthalmic drugs; and the role of the ocular surface innervation in blinking and in basal and reflex tearing.

At the present time, the ONG studies the neural mechanisms responsible for the regulation by CNS of ocular surface wetness, studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying sensory transduction, and the role of sensory input in the reflex regulation of tear production and blinking, as well as their changes with aging.

Representative Publications

Kovács I , Luna C, Quirce S, Mizerska K, Callejo G, Riestra A, Fernández-Sánchez L, Meseguer VM, Cuenca N, Merayo-Lloves J, Acosta MC, Gasull X, Belmonte C, Gallar J. " Abnormal activity of corneal cold thermoreceptors underlies the unpleasant sensations in dry eye disease. " PAIN (Editor’s Choice; Portada) . 157(2) , 399 - 417 ( 2016 )

Callejo G. , Castellanos A, Castany M, Gual A, Luna C, Acosta MC, Gallar J, Giblin JP, Gasull X. " Acid-sensing ion channels detect moderate acidifications to induce ocular pain. " PAIN . 56(3) , 483 - 495 ( 2015 )

Acosta MC. , Luna C, Quirce S, Belmonte C, Gallar J. " Changes in sensory activity of ocular surface sensory nerves during allergic keratoconjunctivitis. " PAIN . 154(11) , 2353 - 2362 ( 2013 )

Belmonte C , Acosta MC, Gallar J. " Neural basis of sensation in intact and injured corneas. " Exp Eye Res . 78(3) , 513 - 525 ( 2004 )

Acosta MC , Belmonte C, Gallar J. " Sensory experiences in humans and single unit activity in cats evoked by polymodal stimulation of the cornea. " J. Physiol . 534(2) , 511 - 525 ( 2001 )
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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