Memory potentiation and recovery in healthy and brain-damaged rats



Coordinator:  Dr. Margalida Coll

- Dr. Gemma Guillazo Blanch
- Dr. Isabel Portell Cortés
- Dr. Pilar Segura Torres


Our group has demonstrated the efficacy of several treatments (chemical and electrical stimulation of the prefrontal cortex and thalamic nuclei, intracranial self-stimulation, physical exercise, and caloric restriction) to enhance memory and attention in healthy rats, and to reduce cognitive impairment induced by brain damage of different aetiology (neurochemical disorders, neurodegenerative disease, traumatic brain injury, etc.) or associated to the aging process. Alongside, we have started studying whether physical exercise, together with other procedures, may improve cognitive decline in patients with cranioencephalic trauma.


In addition to examining which are the optimal schedules of treatment administration and the kind of cognitive process in which each treatment would exert higher benefits, we have also stablished some of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the facilitating effect: modification of gene expression, induction of plastic changes at the molecular, structural and morphological level, enhanced neurogenesis, changes in neurotransmitter release, reduction of secondary neuronal death, modification of the neuroinflammatory pattern, etc.



Research lines:


1) Prevention and treatment of cognitive impairment associated to aging


2) Facilitation of memory through intracranial electrical self-stimulation; and


3) Reduction of cognitive impairment associated to traumatic brain injury by means of physical exercise, both in an animal model (rat) and in humans.



Active projects:



  1) PSI2017-84290-R; Prevención y tratamiento del declive cognitivo asociado al envejecimiento: Conducta y mecanismos cerebrales asociados.


2) PSI2014-55087-R; Ejercicio físico como tratamiento crónico para reducir el déficit cognitivo producido por daño cerebral traumático


3) PSI2017-83202-C2-1-P; Potenciación de la memoria y la plasticidad neural en ratas sanas y en un modelo de enfermedad de Alzheimer: estimulación cerebral reforzante y dieta.


4) PSI2017-83202-C2-2-P; Potenciación de la plasticidad neural en ratas sanas y en un modelo de enfermedad de Alzheimer: estimulación cerebral reforzante y sinergias con suplementos dietéticos.  





Featured publications: 


· Portero-Tresserra, M; Martí-Nicolovius, M; Tarrés-Gatius, M; Candalija, A; Vale-Martínez, A. (2018). Intra-hippocampal D-cycloserine rescues decreased social memory, spatial learning reversal, and synaptophysin levels in aged rats. Psychopharmacology, in press.


· Tapias-Espinosa, C; Kádár, E; Segura-Torres, P (2018) Spaced sessions of avoidance extinction reduce spontaneous recovery and promote infralimbic cortex activation. Behavioural Brain Research, 336: 59-66.


· Fernández-Cabrera, MR; Selvas, A; Miguéns, M; Higuera-Matas, A; Vale-Martínez, A; Ambrosio, E; Martí-Nicolovius, M; Guillazo-Blanch, G. (2017). Parafascicular thalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation decreases NMDA receptor GluN1 subunit gene expression in the prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience,348:73-82.


· Garcia-Brito, S; Morgado-Bernal, I; Biosca-Simon, N; Segura-Torres, P. (2017)] Intracranial self-stimulation also facilitates learning in a visual discrimination task in the Morris watermaze in rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 317: 360-366.


· Morris T; Gomes Osman, J; Tormos Muñoz, JM; Costa-Miserachs, D.; Pascual Leone A. (2016) The role of physical exercise in cognitive recovery after traumatic brain injury: A systematic review. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 34(6):977-988.


· Kádár, E; Vico-Varela, E; Aldavert-Vera, L; Huguet, G; Morgado-Bernal, I; Segura-Torres, P (2016). Increase in c-Fos and Arc protein in retrosplenial cortex after memory-improving lateral hypothalamic electrical stimulation treatment. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 128:117-124.


· Jacotte-Simancas,A; Costa-Miserachs, D; Coll-Andreu, M; Torras-Garcia, M.; Borlongan, CV.; Portell-Cortés, I (2015). Effects of voluntary physical exercise, citicoline, and combined treatment on object recognition memory, neurogenesis, and neuroprotection after traumatic brain injury in rats. Journal of Neurotrauma, 32(10):739-51.






Ref: SGR 2017-1026