Neuroinflamation and Neurological Impairment
Programme Manager: Vicente Felipo
The Programme on Neuroinflammation and Neurological Impairment performs basic and translational research on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of neurological (cognitive, motor, functional and in sleep) impairment in different pathological situations, including: minimal and clinical hepatic encephalopathy in liver cirrhosis, acute liver failure, hyperammonemias, chronic alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse in adolescence and adulthood and perinatal exposure to ethanol (fetal alcohol syndrome) or to food or environmental contaminants.
These situations (and many chronic diseases) lead to peripheral inflammation, neuroinflammation and cerebral alterations which induce cognitive and functional impairment. This impairment reduces quality of life and increases the risk of accidents, hospitalizations and adverse consequences and the consumption of public resources.
Chronic inflammation and the action of alcohol or ammonia induce neuroinflammation and alterations in neurotransmission and functional and structural alterations in brain, which lead to cognitive and functional impairment.
The general objectives of the programme son:
In animal models:
- Identify the molecular mechanisms responsible for neurological impairment, with emphasis on the role of neuroinflammation. Identify the mechanisms by which:
- Peripheral inflammation, hyperammonemia or alcohol induce neuroinflammation.
- Neuroinflammation induces functional, structural and neurotransmission alterations in brain.
- these brain alterations induce cognitive and functional decline.
- Identify therapeutic targets to reverse or prevent cognitive and functional decline.
- Design and test new therapeutic procedures to reverse neurological impairment.
- Identify biomarkers of neuroinflammation and neurological alterations.
In human patients:
- Characterize in detail the alterations in inflammation, neuroinflammation, neurotransmission, and cerebral function and structure associated to the appearance of cognitive and functional impairment.
- Characterize in detail the cognitive and functional alterations.
- Identify biomarkers for early detection of cognitive and functional impairment.
- Bring to the clinical practice the therapeutic treatments identified in animal models.
- Bring to the clinical practice the new diagnostic procedures identified.