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Research Group
Sensory transduction and nociception
Unit Unit Cellular and Systems Neurobiology »

Principal Investigator Associated Investigators Ph.D. Investigator Graduate students Technician Administration
Research Fields
Sensory terminals of the skin and mucosae are subjected to a continuous bombardment of physical and chemical stimuli. These stimuli must be transformed into a code of electrical signals that is relayed to the central nervous system to evoke conscious sensations. Many details of this biological process, known as sensory transduction, are still elusive. This is specially true for stimuli that cause tissue injury and underlie the sensation of pain. Pain is a very frequent medical condition, with enormous costs and severe social impact in our communities.

Our research group is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the transduction on low and high threshold mechanical, thermal (cold and warm) and chemical stimuli (both endogeneous and exogeneous mediators) by primary sensory neurons. We also seek to determine modulatory mechanisms in the responses and search for new potential therapeutic targets for the control of pain.
In these studies, we use different experimental models, including isolated nerve terminals, cultured sensory neurons, anesthetized animals and human volunteers. We characterize responses both during normal conditions and following injury. Studies involve the use of a variety of techniques such as electrophysiological recordings (intracellular, patch-clamp, single fiber recordings from peripheral nerves and terminals), imaging techniques (intracellular calcium measurements and confocal microscopy), pharmacology (ELISA), molecular techniques (construction of adenoviral vectors and site-directed mutagenesis) as well as behavioral techniques (nociception tests).

Representative Publications

Caires R. , Luis E, Taberner F, Fernández-Ballester G, Ferrer-Montiel A, Balazs E, Gomis A, Belmonte C and de la Peña E. " Hyaluronan modulates TRPV1 channel opening reducing peripheral nociceptor activity and pain " Nature Commun . 6 , 8095 - 8116 ( 2015 )

Morenilla-Palao C. , Luis E., Fernández-Peña C., Quintero E., Weaver JL., Bayliss DA., Viana F. " Ion Channel profile of TRPM8 cold receptors reveals a role of TASK-3 potassium channels in thermosensation " Cell Reports . doi , 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.08.003 - ( 2014 )

Meseguer et al. , " TRPA1 channels mediate acute neurogenic inflammation and pain produced by bacterial endotoxins. " Nat Commun . 5 , - 3125 ( 2014 )

Jemal I. , Soriano S., Conte AL., Morenilla C, Gomis A. " G protein-coupled receptor signalling potentiates the osmo-mechanical activation of TRPC5 channels. " Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol . 466 , 1635 - 46 ( 2014 )

De la Peña E*, , Mälkiä A* , Vara H, Caires R, Ballesta JJ, Belmonte C, Viana F. " The influence of cold temperature on cellular excitability of hippocampal networks. " PLos One . 7(12) , 52475 - 52483 ( 2012 ) * Co-author
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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