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Laboratorio de Neuroanatomía Funcional Comparada de la Universitat de València - NEUROFUNC

Referencia del grupo:

GIUV2013-053

 
Descripción de la actividad investigadora:
Since 1986 we have been studying the brain of reptiles, birds and mammals. Our aim has been to understand the common traits of organisation of the vertebrate brain. In this never-ending task we have focused our attention mainly in the amygdala, but also in other structures of the 'limbic' forebrain such as the septum and hippocampus, as well as in the visual systems at all levels (from the retina to the visual cortex). We have collaborated with several grups from Europe and the USA, such as those of Luis Martínez-Millan (Euskal Herriko Unibersitatea, Leioa, Spain), Tomás González-Hernández (Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain), Salvador Guirado (Univ. Málaga, Spain), Piet Hoolgand (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Jeús Perez-Clausell (Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain), Margarita Belekhova (Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburgh, Russia), Ceri D Davies (Imperial College, London, UK) and Mimi Halpern (State Universty of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn, USA). We are currently collaborating with Joseph LeDoux, (New York University, USA), Alino Martinez-Marcos, (Univ. Castilla La Mancha), Jane Hurst (Univ. of Liverpool, UK), Karim...Since 1986 we have been studying the brain of reptiles, birds and mammals. Our aim has been to understand the common traits of organisation of the vertebrate brain. In this never-ending task we have focused our attention mainly in the amygdala, but also in other structures of the 'limbic' forebrain such as the septum and hippocampus, as well as in the visual systems at all levels (from the retina to the visual cortex). We have collaborated with several grups from Europe and the USA, such as those of Luis Martínez-Millan (Euskal Herriko Unibersitatea, Leioa, Spain), Tomás González-Hernández (Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain), Salvador Guirado (Univ. Málaga, Spain), Piet Hoolgand (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Jeús Perez-Clausell (Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain), Margarita Belekhova (Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburgh, Russia), Ceri D Davies (Imperial College, London, UK) and Mimi Halpern (State Universty of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn, USA). We are currently collaborating with Joseph LeDoux, (New York University, USA), Alino Martinez-Marcos, (Univ. Castilla La Mancha), Jane Hurst (Univ. of Liverpool, UK), Karim Nader (McGuill Univ, Canada), Mike Ludwig (Univ. Edimburgh) and Trése Leinders-Zufalla and Pablo Chamero (Saarland Univ., Germany). Our main lines of research are: 1. Anatomy of the amygdala. Our main goal is to try to characterise the organisation of the amygdala, a portion of the brain involved in both chemoreception and emotions. This functional heterogeneity parallels the anatomical complexity ofthe amygdala which includes derivatives of the embryonic pallium (thus, portions of the cerebral cortex), of the subpallium (striatum and pallidum) and even of portions of the hypothalamic neuroepithelium. We are using tract-tracing techniques and the presence and distributoin of many neurochemical markers. 2. Neurobiology of the reinforcing properties of sexual pheromones in mice. In fact, the cortico-medial and basolateral-central divisions area apparently involved in independent functions, related to chemosensibility (cortico-medial) and to eliciting innate and learned emotional responses (basolateral-central). The results of our research on the reinforcing properties of a vomeronasal stimulus, sexual pheromones in mice, suggest that both functions of the amygdala are interrelated, thus giving a functional explanation for the profuse interconnections found between the different divisions of the amygdala in different vertebrates. 3. The neural basis of maternal aggression. In the last years we have moved to further understand the role that the amygdala and its connections with the rest of the brain are playing in the control of soxio-sexual behaviour in response to conspecific chemosignals, e.g. pheromones. We are currently analysing how the brain of female mice changes from a regular status in which the animal likes male pheromones, to a maternal status in which the female fiercely attacks male intruders. This will allow better understanding the neural basis of aggressive behaviour. In this respect we are developing two lines of research: 3a. Neuropeptides and sociosexual behaviour. In the change from attraction to aggression ocurring in the brain of lactating females, the circuits using neuropeptides (especially vasopressin and oxytocin) are likely fundamental. Therefore we are currently analysing these nonpeptide-containing circuits in the brain of males and of females in different physiological situation. 3b. Neuroendocrinology of maternal aggression. In addition, we are trying to understand the endocrine agents acting during pregnancy, delivery and lactation, that may explain this behavioural changes in females. We are currently exploring how sexual steroids and prolacting combine their actions to promote maternal behaviours including aggression.
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Objetivos cientificotécnicos:
  • Entender la organización anatomo-funcional de la amígdala y su papel en la comunicacion intraespecifica a traves de feromonas
  • Comprender los mecanismos neurales y neuroendocrinos de la agresividad usando la agresión maternal como modelo
  • Entender el papel de los nonapeptidos oxitocina y vasopresina en el control del comportamiento sociosexual
  • Entender el procesamiento de señales químicas en la amigdala, mediante el análsis de la respuesta electrofisiológica a feromonas
 
Líneas de investigación:
  • Amigdala y emociones. Study of the role of the amygdala in the generation of emotional and motivated behaviours and its pathologies.
  • Neurobiologia del comportamiento sociosexual. Study of the neural circuitry and endocrinology underlying the control of sexual attraction, agonistic encounters (aggression) and maternal behaviour.
 
Componentes del grupo:
Nombre Carácter de la participación Entidad Descripción
Vicent Manuel Teruel MartíDirector-a UVEG-Valencia Professor-a Contractat-da Doctor-a
Equip d'investigació
María Carmen Agustin PavónMembre UVEG-Valencia Professor-a Contractat-da Doctor-a
Enrique Lanuza NavarroMembre UVEG-Valencia Catedràtic-a d'Universitat
Joana Martínez RicosMembre UVEG-Valencia Professor-a Contractat-da Doctor-a
Ana Pilar Cervera FerriCol·laborador-a UVEG-Valencia Professor-a Contractat-da Doctor-a