Chronic stress induces changes in the morphology and excitability of neural cells located in the limbic system, which regulates emotions and memory. In addition, chronic stress, or during the development of depressive behavior, the levels of neurotransmitters that modulate mood are affected (serotonin, dopamine, noradrenalin). However, it is significant to know whether all these molecular and cellular alterations can really affect in vivo neuronal circuits when the rodents are developing specific behaviors, such as anxiety, anhedonia (related to depression), during auditory attention or at the evocation of an emotional memory. To solve this experimental problem, we have at our disposal the technology called “Wireless Multi-Channel Recording in Behaving Rats”, which has been synchronized with our behavioral software (ANY-maze y Packwin). This experimental approach allows us to record the neuronal activity (LFP, spikes) in areas of the limbic system when the rats are performing specific behaviors, without distractors, such as cables on the animal's head which may alter the performance of the animals.
Our lab has specialized in developing several animal models to study the neurobiological basis of mental illnesses related to stress. We have animal models (rats) to study depressive-like behaviors, resilience and anxiety-like behaviors in childhood, adolescence and adulthood, among others.
Childhood and Adolescence Psychiatry:
1.- Depressive-like behaviors in childhood (prenatal stress)
2.- Attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (2-ACT)
1.- Major depressive disorder (unpredictable chronic stress)
2.- Post-partum depression (prenatal stress)
3.- Psychosocial stress (repeated restraint stress)
Resilience:. We have animal models to study the neurobiology of resilience:
1.- Childhood resilience: parental stress and early handing
2.- Adulthood resilience: Social Defeat
Animal model to study resilience and depressive-like behaviors: Social Defeat
Animal model to study depressive-like behaviors: Unpredictable chronic stress
Behavioral task to analyze the depressive-like behaviors:
This technology allows drugs to be applied chronically in the brain and to analyze the effects specifically in the central nervous system.
Quantification of stress hormones (cortisol and ACTH) in plasma samples.
We study the effects of stress and drugs om location and levels of proteins associated to neuronal activity (cFos) and neuronal markers (PV+, GFAP, etc). In addition, we perform basic histology to determine the implants location (Nissl stain) and neuronal morphology (Golgi stain).
RT-PCR para analizar cambios de expresión génica.