My research activity aim at the comprehension of synaptic transmission mechanisms in rodent CNS using Electrophysiology primarily and Molecular Biology. In the last years, I concentrated on the study of the modulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity processes -both in post-natal and adult life- by endogenous factors such as those related to neuro-inflammation, like chemokines, with particular attention to CX3CL1 (fractalkine). I’mparticularly intrigued by the bidirectional interplay between nervous and immune systems, along the ongoing changes in the living environment. In this contest, microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, have recently attracted a lot of interest in the biological psychiatry field. Indeed, the role of microglia in interfacing environmental stimuli and changes in brain function has suggested that these cells may underlay the interplay between environmental stimuli and vulnerability to major depression (MD). My current efforts point to the investigation of the mechanisms of action of antidepressants in relationship with inflammatory status, neural plasticity and quality of the life environment.We use an integrative approach, spanning from molecules to the quality of the living environment, from the analysis of the neuron-microglia crosstalk to the behavior, to understand the neural bases of mood disorders and antidepressant efficacy.
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