Grupos Investigadores

Miembros del Grupo

María Esther
Luquin de Carlos
Paternain Lacalle

Líneas de Investigación

  • Transmisión GABAérgica en el tegmento mesopontino: localización de receptores GABA en los distintos fenotipos celulares del núcleo pedunculopontino.
  • Núcleo pedunculopontino y sistema cannabinoide.
  • Modulación de la inflamación como estrategia de neuroprotección frente a la neurodegeneración.
  • Ganglios basales y núcleo pedunculopontino: fenotipo de las dianas celulares de las proyecciones de salida de los ganglios basales en el tegmento mesopontino de la rata.
  • El sistema cannabinoide como diana terapéutica para el tratamiento de la enfermedad de Parkinson.

Palabras Clave

  • Sistema cannabinoide
  • Microglía
  • Inmunocitoquímica
  • Hibridación in situ
  • Ganglios basales
  • Enfermedad de Parkinson

Publicaciones Científicas desde 2018

  • Autores: Luquin de Carlos, María Esther; Paternain Lacalle, Beatriz; Zugasti, I.; et al.
    ISSN 1863-2653 Vol.227 N° 1 2022 págs. 89 - 110
    To better understand GABAergic transmission at two targets of basal ganglia downstream projections, the pedunculopontine (PPN) and laterodorsal (LDT) tegmental nuclei, the anatomical localization of GABAA and GABAB receptors was investigated in both nuclei. Specifically, the total number of neurons expressing the GABAA receptor gamma 2 subunit (GABAAR gamma 2) and the GABAB receptor R2 subunit (GABAB R2) in PPN and LDT was estimated using stereological methods, and the neurochemical phenotype of cells expressing each subunit was also determined. The mean number of non-cholinergic cells expressing GABAAR gamma 2 was 9850 +/- 1856 in the PPN and 8285 +/- 962 in the LDT, whereas those expressing GABAB R2 were 7310 +/- 1970 and 9170 +/- 1900 in the PPN and LDT, respectively. In addition, all cholinergic neurons in both nuclei co-expressed GABAAR gamma 2 and 95-98% of them co-expressed GABAB R2. Triple labeling using in situ hybridization revealed that 77% of GAD67 mRNA-positive cells in the PPT and 49% in the LDT expressed GABAAR gamma 2, while 90% (PPN) and 65% (LDT) of Vglut2 mRNA-positive cells also expressed GABAAR gamma 2. In contrast, a similar proportion (similar to 2/3) of glutamatergic and GABAergic cells co-expressed GABAB R2 in both nuclei. The heterogeneous distribution of GABAAR and GABABR among non-cholinergic cells in PPN and LDT may give rise to physiological differences within each neurochemical subpopulation. In addition, the dissimilar proportion of GABAAR gamma 2-expressing glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons in the PPN and LDT may contribute to some of the functional differences found between the two nuclei.
  • Autores: Cortés Jiménez, Adriana; Solas Zubiaurre, Maite; Pejenaute Martínez de Lizarrondo, Álvaro; et al.
    ISSN 2076-3921 Vol.10 N° 8 2021 págs. 1311
    Blood-Brain barrier (BBB) disruption is a hallmark of central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, and oxidative stress is one of the molecular mechanisms that may underlie this process. NADPH oxidases (NOX) are involved in oxidative stress-mediated vascular dysfunction and participate in the pathophysiology of its target organs. The NADPH oxidase 5 (NOX5) isoform is absent in rodents, and although little is known about the role it may play in disrupting the BBB, it has recently been implicated in experimental stroke. Our aim was to investigate the role of NADPH oxidase 5 (NOX5) in promoting vascular alterations and to identify its impact on the cognitive status of aged mice. No differences were detected in the arterial blood pressure or body weight between knock-in mice expressing endothelial NOX5 and the control mice. The Morris water maze test showed memory impairments in the aged knock-in mice expressing NOX5 compared with their control littermates. For assessing the BBB integrity, we studied the protein expression of two tight junction (TJ) proteins: Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin. Compared to the control animals, Aged NOX5 mice exhibited reduced levels of both proteins, demonstrating an alteration of the BBB integrity. Our data indicate that vascular NOX5 may favor behavioral changes with aging through oxidative stress-mediated BBB breakdown.
  • Autores: Marquez, M.; Valero, J.; Ayerra Bretos, Leyre; et al.
    Revista: GLIA
    ISSN 0894-1491 Vol.69 N° S1 2021 págs. E235 - E236
  • Autores: Rojo-Bustamante, E.; Íñigo Marco, Ignacio; Abellanas Sánchez, Miguel Ángel; et al.
    ISSN 2218-273X Vol.10 N° 8 2020 págs. 1198
    Monoacylglycerol lipase inhibition (MAGL) has emerged as an interesting therapeutic target for neurodegenerative disease treatment due to its ability to modulate the endocannabinoid system and to prevent the production of proinflammatory mediators. To obtain a beneficial response, it is necessary to understand how this inhibition affects the neuron-glia crosstalk and neuron viability. In this study, the effect of MAGL inhibition by KML29 was evaluated in two types of rat cortical primary cultures; mixed cultures, including neuron and glial cells, and neuron-enriched cultures. The risk of neuronal death was estimated by longitudinal survival analysis. The spontaneous neuronal risk of death in culture was higher in the absence of glial cells, a process that was enhanced by KML29 addition. In contrast, neuronal survival was not compromised by MAGL inhibition in the presence of glial cells. Blockade of cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors expressed mainly by microglial cells did not affect the spontaneous neuronal death risk but decreased neuronal survival when KML29 was added. Modulation of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors did not affect neuronal survival. Our results show that neuron-glia interactions are essential for neuronal survival. CB2 receptors play a key role in these protective interactions when neurons are exposed to toxic conditions.
  • Autores: Abellanas Sánchez, Miguel Ángel; Zamarbide, M.; Basurco Gogorcena, Leyre; et al.
    ISSN 1742-2094 Vol.16 N° 1 2019
    Background Inflammation is a critical process for the progression of neuronal death in neurodegenerative disorders. Microglia play a central role in neuroinflammation and may affect neuron vulnerability. Next generation sequencing has shown the molecular heterogeneity of microglial cells; however, the variability in their response to pathological inputs remains unknown. Methods To determine the effect of an inflammatory stimulus on microglial cells, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was administered peripherally to mice and the inflammatory status of the cortex, hippocampus, midbrain, and striatum was assessed. Microglial activation and interaction with the immune system were analyzed in single cell suspensions obtained from the different brain regions by fluorescence-activated cell sorting, next generation RNA sequencing, real-time PCR, and immunohistochemical techniques. Antigen-presenting properties of microglia were evaluated by the ability of isolated cells to induce a clonal expansion of CD4(+) T cells purified from OT-II transgenic mice. Results Under steady-state conditions, the midbrain presented a high immune-alert state characterized by the presence of two unique microglial subpopulations, one expressing the major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) and acting as antigen-presenting cells and another expressing the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), and by the presence of a higher proportion of infiltrating CD4(+) T cells. This state was not detected in the cortex, hippocampus, or striatum. Systemic LPS administration induced a general increase in classic pro-inflammatory cytokines, in co-inhibitory programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), and in cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) receptors, as well as a decrease in infiltrating effector T cells in all brain regions. Interestingly, a specific immune-suppressive response was observed in the midbrain which was characterized by the downregulation of MHC-II microglial expression, the upregulation of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL10 and TGF beta, and the increase in infiltrating regulatory T cells. Conclusions These data show that the midbrain presents a high immune-alert state under steady-state conditions that elicits a specific immune-suppressive response when exposed to an inflammatory stimulus. This specific inflammatory tone and response may have an impact in neuronal viability.
  • Autores: Elgueta, D. ; Contreras, F. ; Prado, C.; et al.
    ISSN 1664-3224 Vol.10 2019 págs. 981
    Neuroinflammation constitutes a fundamental process involved in Parkinson's disease (PD). Microglial cells play a central role in the outcome of neuroinflammation and consequent neurodegeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Current evidence indicates that CD4(+) T-cells infiltrate the brain in PD, where they play a critical role determining the functional phenotype of microglia, thus regulating the progression of the disease. We previously demonstrated that mice bearing dopamine receptor D3 (DRD3)-deficient CD4(+) T-cells are completely refractory to neuroinflammation and consequent neurodegeneration induced by the administration of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). In this study we aimed to determine whether DRD3-signalling is altered in peripheral blood CD4(+) T-cells obtained from PD patients in comparison to healthy controls (HC). Furthermore, we evaluated the therapeutic potential of targeting DRD3 confined to CD4(+) T-cells by inducing the pharmacologic antagonism or the transcriptional inhibition of DRD3-signalling in a mouse model of PD induced by the chronic administration of MPTP and probenecid (MPTPp). In vitro analyses performed in human cells showed that the frequency of peripheral blood Th1 and Th17 cells, two phenotypes favoured by DRD3-signalling, were significantly increased in PD patients. Moreover, native CD4(+) T-cells obtained from PD patients displayed a significant higher Th1 -biased differentiation in comparison with those naive CD4(+) T-cells obtained from HC. Nevertheless, DRD3 expression was selectively reduced in CD4(+) T-cells obtained from PD patients. The results obtained from in vivo experiments performed in mice show that the transference of CD4(+) T-cells treated ex vivo with the DRD3-selective antagonist PG01037 into MPTPp-mice resulted in a significant reduction of motor impairment, although without significant effect in neurodegeneration. Conversely, the transference CD4(+) T-cells transduced ex vivo with retroviral pArtículos codifying for an shRNA for DRD3 into MPTPp-mice had no effects neither in motor impairment nor in neurodegeneration. Notably, the systemic antagonism of DRD3 significantly reduced both motor impairment and neurodegeneration in MPTPp mice. Our findings show a selective alteration of DRD3-signalling in CD4(+) T-cells from PD patients and indicate that the selective DRD3-antagonism in this subset of lymphocytes exerts a therapeutic effect in parkinsonian animals dampening motor impairment.
  • Autores: Aymerich Soler, Marisol (Autor de correspondencia); Aso, E.; Abellanas Sánchez, Miguel Ángel; et al.
    ISSN 0006-2952 Vol.157 2018 págs. 67 - 84
    The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exerts a modulatory effect of important functions such as neurotransmission, glial activation, oxidative stress, or protein homeostasis. Dysregulation of these cellular processes is a common neuropathological hallmark in aging and in neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). The broad spectrum of actions of cannabinoids allows targeting different aspects of these multifactorial diseases. In this review, we examine the therapeutic potential of the ECS for the treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS focusing on Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. First, we describe the localization of the molecular components of the ECS and how they are altered under neurodegenerative conditions, either contributing to or protecting cells from degeneration. Second, we address recent advances in the modulation of the ECS using experimental models through different strategies including the direct targeting of cannabinoid receptors with agonists or antagonists, increasing the endocannabinoid tone by the inhibition of endocannabinoid hydrolysis, and activation of cannabinoid receptor independent effects. Preclinical evidence indicates that cannabinoid pharmacology is complex but supports the therapeutic potential of targeting the ECS. Third, we review the clinical evidence and discuss the future perspectives on how to bridge human and animal studies to develop cannabinoid-based therapies for each neurodegenerative disorder. Finally, we summarize the most relevant opportunities of cannabinoid pharmacology related to each disease and the multiple unexplored pathways in cannabinoid pharmacology that could be useful for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Autores: Ugarte, A.; Corbacho, D.; Aymerich Soler, Marisol; et al.
    ISSN 1933-7213 Vol.15 N° 3 2018 págs. 742 - 750
    Drug efficacy in the central nervous system (CNS) requires an additional step after crossing the blood-brain barrier. Therapeutic agents must reach their targets in the brain to modulate them; thus, the free drug concentration hypothesis is a key parameter for in vivo pharmacology. Here, we report the impact of neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) compared with healthy controls) on the binding of 10 known drugs to postmortem brain tissues from animal models and humans. Unbound drug fractions, for some drugs, are significantly different between healthy and injured brain tissues (AD or PD). In addition, drugs binding to brain tissues from AD and PD animal models do not always recapitulate their binding to the corresponding human injured brain tissues. These results reveal potentially relevant implications for CNS drug discovery.
  • Autores: Rojo-Bustamante, E. ; Abellanas Sánchez, Miguel Ángel; Clavero Ibarra, Pedro Luis; et al.
    ISSN 0969-9961 Vol.118 2018 págs. 64 - 75
    Management of levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LID) is one of the main challenges in the treatment of Parkinson's disease patients. Mechanisms involved in the appearance of these involuntary movements are not well known but modifications in the activity of different neurotransmitter pathways seem to play an important role. The objective of this study was to determine differences in the expression levels of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) elements that would support a role in LID. The basal ganglia nuclei, putamen, external segment of the globus pallidus (GPe), internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi), subthalamic nucleus (STN) and substantia nigra (SN) were dissected out from cryostat sections obtained from two groups of parkinsonian monkeys treated with levodopa to induce dyskinesias. One group of dyskinetic animals was sacrificed under the effect of levodopa, during the active phase of LID, and the other group 24 h after the last levodopa dose (OFF levodopa). Biochemical analysis by real-time PCR for ECS elements was performed. CBI receptor expression was upregulated in the putamen, GPe and STN during the active phase of dyskinesia and downregulated in the same nuclei and in the SN when dyskinetic animals were OFF levodopa. Changes in the 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) synthesizing/degrading enzymes affecting the pallidal-subthalamic projections in dyskinetic animals OFF levodopa would suggest that 2-AG may play a role in LID. Anandamide (AEA) synthesizing/degrading enzymes were altered specifically in the GPe of untreated parkinsonian monkeys, suggesting that increased AEA levels may be a compensatory mechanism. These results indicate that the expression of the ECS elements is influenced by alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission. On one hand, changes in CBI, receptor expression and in the 2-AG synthesizing/degrading enzymes suggest that they could be a therapeutic target for the active phase of LID. On the other hand, AEA metabolism could provide a non-dopaminergic target for symptomatic relief. However, further research is needed to unravel the mechanism of action of the ECS and how they could be modulated for a therapeutic purpose.
  • Autores: Luquin de Carlos, María Esther; Huerta, I.; Aymerich Soler, Marisol; et al.
    ISSN 1662-5129 Vol.12 2018 págs. 34
    The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN) and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDT) are functionally associated brainstem structures implicated in behavioral state control and sensorimotor integration. The PPN is also involved in gait and posture, while the LDT plays a role in reward. Both nuclei comprise characteristic cholinergic neurons intermingled with glutamatergic and GABAergic cells whose absolute numbers in the rat have been only partly established. Here we sought to determine the complete phenotypical profile of each nucleus to investigate potential differences between them. Counts were obtained using stereological methods after the simultaneous visualization of cholinergic and either glutamatergic or GABAergic cells. The two isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), GAD65 and GAD67, were separately analyzed. Dual in situ hybridization revealed coexpression of GAD65 and GAD67 mRNAs in ~90% of GAD-positive cells in both nuclei; thus, the estimated mean numbers of (1) cholinergic, (2) glutamatergic, and (3) GABAergic cells in PPN and LDT, respectively, were (1) 3,360 and 3,650; (2) 5,910 and 5,190; and (3) 4,439 and 7,599. These data reveal significant differences between PPN and LDT in their relative phenotypical composition, which may underlie some of the functional differences observed between them. The estimation of glutamatergic cells was significantly higher in the caudal PPN, supporting the reported functional rostrocaudal segregation in this nucleus. Fi

Proyectos desde 2018

  • Título: Modulación de las interacciones glia/systema immune mediante cannabinoides para identificar nuevas dianas terapeúticas en la enfermedad de Parkinson.
    Código de expediente: PI20/01063
    Investigador principal: MARIA SOLEDAD AYMERICH SOLER.
    Convocatoria: 2020 AES Proyectos de investigación
    Fecha de inicio: 01-01-2021
    Fecha fin: 31-12-2023
    Importe concedido: 183.920,00 €
    Fondos FEDER: SI
  • Título: Identificación de dianas terapéuticas para la enfermedad de Parkinson basadas en la interacción de la neuroinflamación y la expresión de sinucleína. SinPARK-II
    Código de expediente: 0011-1383-2020-000010 PC192 UNAV SinPARK-II
    Investigador principal: MARIA SOLEDAD AYMERICH SOLER.
    Financiador: GOBIERNO DE NAVARRA
    Convocatoria: 2020 GN Proyectos Colaborativos
    Fecha de inicio: 01-06-2020
    Fecha fin: 30-11-2022
    Importe concedido: 196.835,25 €
    Fondos FEDER: NO
  • Título: SinPARK. Identificación de patrones de neuroinflamación específicos en la muerte neuronal dependiente de alfa-sinucleína en modelos de enfermedad de Parkinson
    Código de expediente: 0011-1383-2019-000005 PC60
    Investigador principal: MARIA SOLEDAD AYMERICH SOLER.
    Financiador: GOBIERNO DE NAVARRA
    Convocatoria: 2019 GN Centros
    Fecha de inicio: 01-12-2018
    Fecha fin: 30-11-2019
    Importe concedido: 70.700,00 €
    Fondos FEDER: NO
  • Título: Modulación de la interacción neurona-glía a través del sistema endocannabinoide como estrategia de neuroprotección para la enfermedad de Parkinson
    Código de expediente: PI17/01931
    Investigador principal: MARIA SOLEDAD AYMERICH SOLER.
    Fecha de inicio: 01-01-2018
    Fecha fin: 31-12-2020
    Importe concedido: 99.220,00 €
    Fondos FEDER: SI
  • Título: Impacto del déficit de inervación glutamatérgica cortical sobre las poblaciones neuronales del rafe dorsal y el locus coeruleus en un modelo murino de depresión
    Investigador principal: ELISA MENGUAL POZA
    Convocatoria: 2020 Convocatoria PIUNA, 2021 Convocatoria PIUNA
    Fecha de inicio: 01-09-2020
    Fecha fin: 31-08-2022
    Importe concedido: 29.320,00 €
  • Título: Estudio de los mecanismos de nueroprotección mediada por el docanabinoide 2-araquidonilglicerol en un modelo animal de enfermedad de Parkinson.
    Investigador principal: MARIA SOLEDAD AYMERICH SOLER
    Convocatoria: Fundación Gangoiti-2014
    Fecha de inicio: 01-01-2015
    Fecha fin: 31-12-2022
    Importe concedido: 40.000,00 €