Lines of investigation
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.
- Disrupted neuro-glial metabolic coupling after peripheral surgery Femenia T , Giménez-Cassina A, Codeluppi S, Fernandez-Zafra T, Terrando N, Eriksson L, Gomez-Galan M. J Neurosci 2018 38(2):452 https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1797-17.2017
- Toll-like receptor-4 regulates anxiety-like behavior and DARPP-32 phosphorylation Femenia T* , Qian Y, Arentsen T, Forssberg H, Diaz-Heijtz R Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 2018 69: 273 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2017.11.022
- The bacterial peptidoglycan-sensing molecule Pglyrp2 modulates brain development and behavior. Arentsen T, Qian Y, Gkotzis S, Femenia T, Wang T, Udekwu K, Forssberg H, Diaz Heijtz R. Mol Psychiatry 2017 22(2):257 https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2016.182
- Hippocampal-Dependent Antidepressant Action of the H3 Receptor Antagonist Clobenpropit in a Rat Model of Depression Teresa Femenía , Salvatore Magara , Caitlin M DuPont , Maria Lindskog Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2015 18(9):pyv032 https://doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyv032
- Skeletal muscle PGC-1α1 modulates kynurenine metabolism and mediates resilience to stress-induced depression 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. Cell 2014 159(1):33 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2014.07.051