Neurotoxicity

Responsible: 

Cristina Suñol Esquirol

Researcher

This line investigates the neural mechanisms involved in the neurotoxicity of environmental toxicants of relevance for the public health by using in vitro neural systems. The primary target is the identification and evaluation of neurotoxic agents and the characterization of the induced neuronal alterations, some of them common to underlying mechanisms of several neural and neurodegenerative diseases. Alterations of the inhibitory GABAergic and excitatory glutamatergic neurotransmission, cell proteome and mechanisms of oxidative stress are studied. At present we are focused on the study of pesticides (organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides) and of metals (organic derivatives of mercury like methylmercury). We foresee to initiate studies on the safety of nanomaterials with regards to the nervous system. We are also developing in vitro models and strategies to predict human toxicity, of great interest for the EU-REACH programme for the testing of the safety/toxicity of new and existing compounds for the human health. Especially, we are focused on the study of compounds interacting with the GABA-A receptor as this receptor is the target for both convulsant and depressant toxicant and pharmaceutical drugs.
The subline is a group member of the CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), giving a projection of the investigations in the area of the Risk Assessment and Human Health.

Present research projects:

• Optimization and pre-validation of an in vitro test strategy for predicting human acute toxicity (A-Cute-Tox). EU, VI FP. 2005 – 2009. CSIC Project leader: Cristina Suñol. Project coordinator: Cecilia Clemedson
• Identification of cellular and functional targets altered in neurotoxic processes induced by environmental pollutants and biocides in cultured neurons. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. 2007 – 2009. Project leader: Cristina Suñol.
• Neurotoxity of environmental contaminants, human exposure and public health. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública. Instituto de Salud Carlos III. 2006- 2009. Investigador principal: Eduard Rodríguez Farré 
• Biological Activity and Computational Studies of Steroids. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) – Czech Academy of Sciences (AVCR). 2006 – 2008. Project leader: Cristina Suñol and Alexander Kasal
• Consolidated Research Group “Pharmacology and Toxicology”. Departamento de Universidades e Investigación (DURSI). Generalitat de Catalunya Suñol C. 206 – 2008. Project leader: Eduard Rodríguez Farré