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Research Group
Neuropharmacology, Molecular Immunobiology and Behavior
Unit Unit Molecular Neurobiology and Neuropathology »

Principal Investigator
Research Fields
Our recently stablished research group aims to understand how pathophysiological brain circuit function, with emphasis on psychiatric and neurological disorders, is mediated by mechanisms related with the immune system. We aim to determine: 1) how innate immune system receptors, such as the Pattern Recognition Receptors (PRRs; e.g. Toll-like receptors) operate during molecular signaling to regulate emotional and cognitive functions and 2) how crosstalk with the periphery affects these functions by evaluating the functional impact of immune alterations linked to stress or diseases accompanied with low-grade inflammation such as metabolic disorders, which are commonly associated with mood and anxiety disorders.

Although there has been a long-standing relation between the immune system and psychiatry, the role of immune receptors in non-immune function, such as in synaptic plasticity or molecular mechanisms regulating emotion and cognition, remains largely unknown. From an immunomodulatory perspective, identifying the diverse functions of the innate immune receptors in a non-traditional context of immunity and deciphering their molecular signaling pathways in the brain with cell-type-specificity will allow us to gain insight into novel and more specific therapeutic strategies for improving mental health.

Our laboratory uses a multi-disciplinary approach by employing state-of-the-art techniques, including mouse genetic strategies, molecular, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology, local brain drug delivery techniques, stereotaxic surgery, imaging and behavior.


Representative Publications

Femenia T* , Qian Y, Arentsen T, Forssberg H, Diaz-Heijtz R. " Toll-like receptor-4 regulates anxiety-like behavior and DARPP-32 phosphorylation. " Brain Behaviour and Immunity . 69 , 273 - 282.doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.11.022. PMID: 29221855 ( 2018 ) *Corresponding author

Femenia T , Giménez-Cassina A, Codeluppi S, Fernandez-Zafra T, Terrando N, Eriksson L, Gomez-Galan M. " Disrupted neuro-glial metabolic coupling after peripheral surgery. " Journal of Neuroscience . 38(2) , 452 - 464. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1797-17. PMID:29175959 ( 2018 )

Arentsen T , Qian Y, Gkotzis S, Femenia T, Wang T, Udekwu K, Forssberg H, Diaz Heijtz R. " Bacterial peptidoglycan from the commensal microbiota can influence the developing brain and later life behavior. " Molecular Psychiatry . 22(2) , 257 - 266. doi:10.1038/mp.2016.182. PMID:27843150 ( 2017 )

Femenía T , Magara S, Dupont C, Lindskog M. " Hippocampal-dependent antidepressant action of the H3 receptor antagonist clobenpropit in a rat model of depression. " Int J Neuropsychopharmacol . , PMID - 25762718. ( 2015 )

Agudelo LZ* , Femenía T*, Orhan F, Porsmyr-Palmertz M, Goiny M, Martinez-Redondo V, Correia JC, Izadi M, Bhat M, Schuppe-Koistinen I, Pettersson AT, Ferreira DM, Krook A, Barres R, Zierath JR, Erhardt S, Lindskog M, Ruas JL. " Skeletal muscle PGC-1α1 modulates kynurenine metabolism and mediates resilience to stress-induced depression. " Cell . 159(1) , 33 - 45. PMID:25259918 ( 2014 ) *Co-first author
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Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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