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Neuropharmacology research at the University of Atacama
Principales áreas de interés
The research interests of our group include the study of new regulatory mechanisms of monoamine neurotransmission and how alterations in monoamine homeostasis contribute to human disease (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and drug addiction). We are particularly interested in learning how different G protein-coupled receptors signaling pathways modulate the function of brain monoamine transporters (DAT, SERT, NET) and how this mechanism influences the development and progression of mental disorders associated with an imbalance in monoamine levels.
Additionally, in collaboration with Dr. Gonzalo Torres from CUNY we have initiated a new line of investigation related with the regulation of serotonin transporter (SERT) by G-protein coupled receptors through a mechanism Gβγ-dependent. Thus, we have evidenced that SERT is a new target of Gβγ signaling. Accordingly, we have observed that activation of Gβγ potentiate amphetamine-induced 5-HT efflux in hippocampal slices, and this efflux is inhibited in the presence of a Gβγ inhibitor. Thus, we hypothesized that the interaction between monoamine transporters (DAT, SERT and NET) and Gβγ promotes the release of monoamines through DAT, SERT and NET. Consequently, these studies will define not only the role that Gβγ plays in the addictive properties of amphetamine and its analogues, but also the contribution of Gβγ to monoamine homeostasis. The long-term goal of my project is to identify novel therapeutic targets that can be used in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and drug addiction.
The laboratory also supports internships and academic activities such as undergraduate and post-graduate thesis.
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