Research lines

Neurogenic drugs: Innovative therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases

Discovery of brain plasticity is one of the most relevant hits on neuroscience field in the last years. The knowledge of endogeneous mechanism for brain reparation is increasing every day.

There are specific brain areas, such the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation and the subventricular zone, where neural progenitor cells are localized. Neural progenitor cells are the stem cells of the brain. Along the rostral migratory stream, they can move to different brain areas in where damage is produced. After a differentiation process and integration in the appropriate circuit they can repair the damage produce by exogenous and endogenous agents.

Drug discovery of new compounds able to stimulate and increase this natural endogenous process is an innovative therapy with high potential for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
This line of research, in narrow collaboration with the Biomedical Research Institute of CSIC (Dr. Ana Perez-Castillo group), is focused on the molecular mechanism that allows neural stem cell proliferation and differentation. It is also centered in the discovery of neurogenic drugs using adult rat neurospheres as screening platform. We have focused on four different targets:

Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3)

Protein kinase CK1 (CK1)

Phosphodiesterase 7 (PDE7)

Nicotinic receptor (α4ß2 and α7)


Ana Pérez-Castillo, PhD, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas-CSIC. Madrid (Spain)

Fred Van Leuven, PhD, Leuven Katholic University (Belgium)

Salvatore Cuzzocrea, PhD, Messina University (Italy)

Mabel Loza, PhD, Universidad de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela (Spain)