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Laboratory of Pain Pathophysiology and Neuroimmunology  


Research topics

The laboratory studies the mechanisms at the basis of the onset, maintenance and resolution of chronic pain of different origin (inflammatory, neuropathic, trigeminal and secondary to other pathologies). In this context, our research aims to identify the molecular and cellular pathways in the pathological interaction among neurons, immune cells, glia and microglia underlying the neuroinflammatory processes in the nervous system, focusing on the pro-/anti-inflammatory cytokine balance.
A deep understanding of these interactions may identify novel therapeutic targets for treating various types of pain, such as neuropathic pain, that are often poorly responsive to common  analgesics.
Moreover, since chronic pain is often accompanied by mood disorder comorbidities, such as anxiety and depression, we want to find shared mechanisms between these pathological conditions.

In detail we study:
-    A novel family of chemokines, the prokineticins, at the interface between pain and neuroinflammation
-    The purinergic system and TRP receptors
-    The mediators involved in neuron-glia communication in peripheral and central nervous system
-    Stem cells, their secretome and microvesicles for pain treatment
-    Opioids as analgesics and immunomodulators
-    Therapeutic and preventive potential of anthocyanins-enriched nutraceutical compounds.


In vivo
Experimental models of inflammatory, neuropathic and trigeminal pain
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and related pain

Behavioral tests in rodents:
nociception (hot plate and tail flick);
thermal (plantar test) and mechanical (randal selitto) hyperalgesia;
mechanical and thermal allodynia (von Frey aesthesiometer, cold plate);
tests to identify pathological behavior related to depression/anhedonia, anxiety, cognitive function, social behavior.

In vitro
Primary cultures of astrocytes, microglia, satellite glial cells and sensory neurons

Western blotting
Immunofluorescence techniques
Confocal microscopy
Cellular immunology (lymphoproliferation, chemotaxis, cytokine production, antibody production)


The laboratory collaborates with national and international leading groups working in the field of pain and neuroinflammatory disorders, including:
-    Prof.ssa Patrizia Romualdi, Università degli Studi di Bologna
-    Prof.ssa Roberta Lattanzi, Università di Roma La Sapienza
-    Prof.ssa Elena Giovanni Bignami, Università di Parma
-    Dott. Marco Turati, Università Milano Bicocca
-    Prof.ssa Michaela Kress, Università Medica Innsbruck (Austria)
-    Prof. Nico Mitro, Università degli Studi di Milano
-    Prof.ssa Katia Petroni, Università degli Studi di Milano
-    Dr.ssa Rosaria Greco e Prof.ssa Cristina Tassorelli, Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Mondino, Pavia
-    Prof. Cesare Patrone, Karolinska Istitute, Stocholm (Sweden)
-    Prof. Arn van den Maagdenberg, University of Leiden (The Netherlands)
-    Dr. Arjan Narbad, Quadram Institute (United Kingdom)
-    Dr Eric Bouet-Grabot, Université de Bordeaux (France)

Selected publications

AMODEO G, FRANCHI S, GALIMBERTI G,  COMI L,  D’AGNELLI S, BACIARELLO M, BIGNAMI EG,  SACERDOTE P Osteoarthritis pain in old mice aggravates neuroinflammation and frailty: the positive effect of morphine treatment BIOMEDICINES 10:2847, 2022

AMODEO G, NIADA S, MOSCHETTI G, FRANCHI S, SAVADORI P, BRINI AT, SACERDOTE P. Secretome of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell relieves pain and neuroinflammation independently of the route of administration in experimental osteoarthritis. BRAIN BEHAV IMMUN. 94:29–41, 2021

MAGNI G, PEDRETTI S, AUDANO M, CARUSO D, MITRO N, CERUTI S. Glial cell activation and altered metabolic profile in the spinal-trigeminal axis in a rat model of multiple sclerosis associated with the development of trigeminal sensitization. BRAIN BEHAV IMMUN. 89:268-280, 2020

MOSCHETTI G, AMODEO G, PALADINI MS, MOLTENI R, BALBONI F, PANERAI A, SACERDOTE P, FRANCHI S Prokineticin 2 promotes and sustains neuroinflammation in vincristine treated mice: focus on pain and emotional like behavior.  BRAIN BEHAV IMMUN. 82:422-431, 2019

MAGNI G, BOCCAZZI M, BODINI A, ABBRACCHIO MP, VAN DEN MAAGDENBERG AM, CERUTI S. Basal astrocyte and microglia activation in the central nervous system of Familial Hemiplegic Migraine Type I mice. CEPHALALGIA. 39:1809-1817, 2019.


Team - Pathophysiology of pain, neuroimmunology and drug of abuse Unit