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Laboratory of Neuropsychopharmacology and Functional Neurogenomics  

lab Prof. Popoli


Research topics

Investigation of the action of behavioral stress at synaptic level. Regulation of synaptic function, neuroplasticity and gene expression with regard to acute/chronic stress, pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric/neurodegenerative disorders, mechanisms of psychotropic drugs. Genome-wide studies of animal models of pathology and response/resistance to drugs (transcriptomics, proteomics, epigenetics, miRNomics). Special attention is given to the identification of new targets for diagnosis or treatment that may improve efficacy and alleviate adverse effects
Study of the effects of behavioral stress and psychotropic drugs on glutamatergic transmission and neuronal architecture
Study of epigenetic changes induced by stress physical exercise and psychotropic drugs
Study the role of gene-environment interaction in the onset of psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases
Study of the role of microRNAs in cognitive fragility
Role of microRNAs in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders and in the action of psychotropic drugs


Molecular Biology: qPCR, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP), ChIP-qPCR, ChIP-Seq, TLDA cards for miRNA, Subcellular fractionation. Preparation of constructs for transfections or gene reporter assays.
Cellular biology: Preparation of subcellular fractions, purification of synaptic terminals by Percoll gradients. Measurement of basal/evoked release of endogenous or labeled neurotransmitters from purified synaptic terminals in superfusion.
Proteomics: Western Blotting, 2D electrophoresis, 2D maps analysis. Analysis of protei-protein interaction by co-immunoprecipitation.
Cell Culture: Cell lines and neuronal primary cultures, hippocampal organotypic cultures, transient and stable transfection, RNAi silencing.
Optical methods: Confocal microscopy, Immunohisto/cytochemistry, immunofluorescence, Golgi stain, Sholl analysis.
Bioinformatic analysis (Gene Ontology, pathway and network analysis, miRNA target analysis)
Animals and behavior: Acute/chronic drug administration, cannulae implantation for ICV, maintenance of transgenic colonies, GxE animal model of anxiety and depression, chronic unpredictable mild stress, footshock stress, Porsolt test, Social defeat stress, voluntary physical activity, behavioral tests for anxiety, depression and memory impairments.


Barbon Alessandro, University of Brescia
Battaglioli Elena, Rusconi Francesco, University of Milano
Bonanno Giambattista, University of Genova
Calza Stefano, University of Brescia
Cantarelli Machado Denise, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul – Porto Alegre (Brasil)
Domenici Enrico, University of Trento
Grohovaz Fabio, Zacchetti Daniele, University of Vita e Salute San Raffaele, Milano
Hovatta Iiris, University of Helsinki, Finland
Malgaroli Antonio, University of Vita e Salute San Raffaele, Milano
Moresco Rosa Maria, University of Milano-Bicocca
McEwen Bruce, Marrocco Jordan, Rockefeller University, New York (USA)
Missale Mariacristina, University of Brescia
Maggi Stefania, CNR Padova
Perego Carla, University of Milano
Veronese Nicola, CNR Padova
Lee Francis F, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, (USA)
Neumann Inga, Di Benedetto Barbara, Regensburg University (Germany)
Sanacora Gerard, Yale University (USA)
Svenningsson Per, Karolinska Institutet, Stoccolma (Sweden)
Tremoli Elena, Barbieri Sivia, Centro Cardiologico Monzino IRCCS, Milano
Tongiorgi Enrico, Baj Gabriele, University of Trieste
Wegener Gregers, Müller Heidi, Nyengaard Jens, Aarhus University (Denmark)
Zarate Carlos, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda (USA)


Selected publications

  1. Mallei A, Ieraci A, Corna S, Tardito D, Lee FS, and Popoli M. (2018) Global epigenetic analysis of BDNF Val66Met mice hippocampus reveals changes in dendrite and spine remodeling genes. Hippocampus, 28(11):783-795.
  2. Musazzi L, Tornese P, Sala N, Popoli M. (2017) Acute or chronic? A stressful question. Trends Neurosci 40:525- 535.
  3. Ieraci A, Madaio AI, Mallei A, Lee FS, Popoli M. (2016). Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Val66Met Human Polymorphism Impairs the Beneficial Exercise-Induced Neurobiological Changes in Mice. Neuropsychopharmacology. 41:3070-3079.
  4. Musazzi L, Tornese P, Sala N, Popoli M. (2016) Acute stress is not acute: sustained enhancement of glutamate release after acute stress involves readily releasable pool size and synapsin I activation. Mol Psychiatry 22:1226-1227.
  5. Treccani G, Musazzi L, Perego C, Milanese M, Nava N, Bonifacino T, Lamanna J, Malgaroli A, Drago F, Racagni G, Nyengaard JR, Wegener G, Bonanno G, Popoli M. (2014) Stress and corticosterone rapidly increase the readily releasable pool of glutamate vesicles in synaptic terminals of prefrontal and frontal cortex. Mol Psychiatry 19:433–443.


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