Antonio Armario García

Antonio Armario García



Antonio Armario García

Academic Staff

+34 935 811 840



Department of Psychobiology and Methodology of Health Science
Institut de Neurociències
Faculty of Biosciences (Room C2-035)
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Bellaterra Campus 08193-Cerdanyola del Vallés


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He is the coordinator of the Neurobiology of stress and vulnerability to psychopathology research group.

Group members:
Francesc Xavier Belda   
Inés Cordón
Antonio Luís Florido
Silvia Fuentes
Humberto Gagliano
Juan Antonio Ortega
Jordi Pastor
María Sanchis
Jesús Úbeda-Contreras
Eric Raúl Velasco


1) Understanding brain processing of stressors and the usefulness of different biological markers of neuronal activation.

2) Describing processes and mechanisms involved in adaptation to chronic stress.

3) Understanding the impact of stress in psychopathology and the underlying neurobiological mechanisms.


1) To identify brain areas and neuronal phenotypes activated by exposure to emotional and pharmacological (i.e. addictive drugs) stressors. We use expression of immediate early genes (IEGs) such as c-fos and arc and epigenetic changes (i.e. histone phosphorylation and acetylation). Our hypothesis is that epigenetic changes are more restricted that expression of IEGs and can help identifying critical brain areas and neurons. With these tools we are exploring how simultaneous exposure to two stressors or to stressors and addictive drugs interact in the brain.

2.  After repeated exposure to a wide range of predominantly emotional stressors, there is a reduction of the response to the same (homotypic) stressor that is observed at physiological (i.e. hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal hormones) and behavioural levels. Adaptation is also observed in brain expression of IEGs. Our main purposes are to identify cognitive/emotional processes involved in adaptation as well as the brain areas and neurochemical mechanisms involved. One of our main hypotheses is that adaptation to repeated stress is not a simple habituation process, as usually assumed, but a complex brain process that may involve cognitive aspects and associative signals. A second one is that adaptation to stress is so difficult to block pharmacologically or by brain lesions because it likely involves several different brain pathways and neurochemical processes acting in a parallel and redundant way.

3.  It has been known for decades that exposure to stress in humans is involved in the development of psychopathologies including anxiety, depression and drug addiction. More recently, it has been demonstrated that a single exposure to certain severe stressors can result in long-lasting neuroendocrine, cognitive and emotional changes, reminiscent of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our purpose is to characterize the characteristics of stressors that determine their psychopathological impact, as well as the biological basis of individual differences in resilience or vulnerability to the consequences of stress. In this regard, one of our main focuses is the activation of the HPA axis and its key brain regulator, the corticotropin-releasing factor/hormone (CRF o CRH), which has been demonstrated to constitute a critical biological link between stress and psychopathology. In addition, we have obtained evidence that activation of BNDF-trkB pathways in critical areas such as the hippocampal formation and the amygdala may also be important to limit the negative consequences of severe stressors.


Visit also: Neurobiology of Stress and Addiction's

  • Marín-Blasco I, Muñoz-Abellán C, Andero R, Nadal R, Armario A. neuronal activation after prolonged immobilization: do the same or different neurons respond to a novel stressor? Cereb Cortex. 2018, 28(4):1233-1244.
  • Fuentes S, Daviu N, Gagliano H, Belda X, Armario A, Nadal R. Early life stress in rats sex-dependently affects remote endocrine rather than behavioral consequences of adult exposure to contextual fear conditioning. Horm Behav. 2018, 103:7-18. 
  • Úbeda-Contreras J, Marín-Blasco I, Nadal R, Armario A. Brain c-fos expression patterns induced by emotional stressors differing in nature and intensity. Brain Struct Funct. 2018, 223(5):2213-2227. 
  • Fuentes S, Carrasco J, Hatto A, Navarro J, Armario A, Monsonet M, Ortiz J, Nadal R. Sex-dependent impact of early-life stress and adult immobilization in the attribution of incentive salience in rats. PLoS One. 2018, 13(1):e0190044.
  • Gagliano H, Ortega-Sanchez JA, Nadal R, Armario A. Psychostimulants and forced swim stress interaction: how activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and stress-induced hyperglycemia are affected. Psychopharmacology, 2017, 234(19):2859-2869. 
  • Sanchís-Ollé M, Ortega-Sánchez JA, Belda X, Gagliano H, Nadal R, Armario A. Lithium-induced malaise does not interfere with adaptation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to stress. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2017, 75:77-83.
Institut de Neurociències
Tel: 93 581 3861 / Fax: +34 93 581 3327

Facultat de Medicina. Edifici M-1
Avinguda de Can Domènech - Campus de la UAB · 08193
Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès) · Barcelona