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San Fedele Superiore, Italy

Luyten W.,Catholic University of Leuven | Antal P.,Budapest University of Technology and Economics | Braeckman B.P.,Ghent University | Bundy J.,Imperial College London | And 18 more authors.
Biogerontology | Year: 2016

Human longevity continues to increase world-wide, often accompanied by decreasing birth rates. As a larger fraction of the population thus gets older, the number of people suffering from disease or disability increases dramatically, presenting a major societal challenge. Healthy ageing has therefore been selected by EU policy makers as an important priority (http://www.healthyageing.eu/european-policies-and-initiatives); it benefits not only the elderly but also their direct environment and broader society, as well as the economy. The theme of healthy ageing figures prominently in the Horizon 2020 programme (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/health-demographic-change-and-wellbeing), which has launched several research and innovation actions (RIA), like “Understanding health, ageing and disease: determinants, risk factors and pathways” in the work programme on “Personalising healthcare” (https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/693-phc-01-2014.html). Here we present our research proposal entitled “ageing with elegans” (AwE) (http://www.h2020awe.eu/), funded by this RIA, which aims for better understanding of the factors causing health and disease in ageing, and to develop evidence-based prevention, diagnostic, therapeutic and other strategies. The aim of this article, authored by the principal investigators of the 17 collaborating teams, is to describe briefly the rationale, aims, strategies and work packages of AwE for the purposes of sharing our ideas and plans with the biogerontological community in order to invite scientific feedback, suggestions, and criticism. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Source


Adriani W.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | Romani C.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | Manciocco A.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies | Vitale A.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | Laviola G.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioural Brain Research | Year: 2013

Individual differences in behavioural flexibility are a significant issue in human psychopathology as well as in its animal models. We aimed to investigate individual variations of operant-choice behaviour in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a small New World primate, using a new operant panel with two hand-poking holes. Methods: Experimental subjects (N= 16) were presented with a choice between a Small & Soon (SS) vs a Large & Late (LL) food reward. After extensive training (31 daily sessions with no delay, during which a basal, large-reward preference developed), the delay before release of LL was progressively increased (from 0 to 60. s, during 16 daily sessions; indifferent point at delay. = 9. s). Subjects were classified as either "flexible" or "non-flexible", respectively, based on a decrease (or not) in the preference for LL with increasing delays. Each subject was also classified as "maximizer" (or "non-maximizer") based on capacity (or not) to maximize the food payoff as delay increased. Results: Upon delays shorter than the indifferent point (<9. s), none of the subjects showed a shift from LL to SS, denoting a lack of delay-induced, cognitive impulsivity. Individual differences only emerged upon delays longer than the indifferent point (>9. s), when a preference shift could be interpreted as economically-driven. In general, a profile of few unrewarded hand-pokes in reaction to initial delays (i.e., a low motor impulsivity) and of clear-cut basal LL preference seemed to predict elevated flexibility of choices and better food payoff, which was typical of subjects classified as both "flexible & maximizer". Conclusion: These results provide normative data on the marmosets, which can be used as a model for the investigation of 1) individual differences in behavioural flexibility, as well as 2) biological mechanisms rooted in our evolutionary history. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source


Matteucci A.,Section of Molecular Neurobiology | Ceci C.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | Mallozzi C.,Section of Molecular Neurobiology | Macri S.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | And 2 more authors.
Experimental Eye Research | Year: 2015

Exposure to Stimulating Environments (SE) during development may improve neuroplasticity in central nervous system, protect against neurotoxic damage, and promote neuronal recovery in adult life. While biochemical mechanisms of SE-promoted neuronal plasticity are well known in the brain, much less is known on the signaling cascade governing plasticity and neuroprotection in the retina. In order to investigate if in the retina signaling molecules involved in neuronal plasticity are affected by SE, neonatal CD-1 mice were exposed to moderate corticosterone levels (NC), supplemented through maternal milk during the first postnatal week, or to environmental enrichment (EE) conditions (physical and social stimuli) from early adolescence. Our results showed that both NC and EE increased the phosphorylation level of Extracellularly Regulated Kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in the adult retinal tissue. Furthermore, we observed that activated ERK1/2 was restricted to Müller cells, while pCREB was mostly present in the nuclei of retinal neurons. Neither NC, nor EE modified the expression of GFAP, a marker of Müller cells activation. In conclusion our results indicate that both NC and EE activate ERK1/2 and CREB in the retina and provide a biochemical background for the neuroprotective activity exerted by SE against retinal damage. Furthermore, they support the role of Müller glia as a key cell determinant of retinal neuroplasticity. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Ceci C.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | Mela V.,Complutense University of Madrid | Macri S.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | Marco E.M.,Complutense University of Madrid | And 2 more authors.
Psychopharmacology | Year: 2014

Rationale: The central endocannabinoid system (eCB system) sustains the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in mediating individual emotional responses. Deviation in maturational trajectories of these two physiological systems, may persistently adjust individual behavioral phenotype. Objective: We investigated, in outbred CD1 male mice, whether exposure to prenatal stress may influence short- and long-term emotional and neurochemical responses to a pharmacological stimulation of the eCB system during adolescence. Methods: To mimic prenatal stress, pregnant mice were supplemented with corticosterone in the drinking water (33.3 mg/l); their adolescent male offspring received daily injections of the fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor, URB597 (0.4 mg/kg), in order to enhance eCB signaling. Mice were then tested for: locomotor activity during adolescence and locomotor activity, anxiogenic, and anhedonic profiles in adulthood. We analyzed the expression of CB1 receptors (CB1Rs) in prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, striatum, and cerebellum in adulthood. Results: Corticosterone administration (PC group) resulted, in adolescence, in a reduction in body weight and locomotion, while in adulthood, in increased anxiety-related behavior and reduced CB1Rs expression in cerebellum. URB597 exposure reduced locomotor activity and increased anhedonia in adulthood. CB1Rs were up-regulated in striatum and hippocampus and down-regulated in the cerebellum. PC-URB597 mice failed to show reductions in locomotion; exhibited increased risk assessment behavior; and showed reduced CB1Rs expression within the prefrontal cortex. Conclusions: Present results provide support to the hypothesis that precocious manipulations mapping onto the HPA axis and eCB system may persistently adjust individual emotional responses and eCB system plasticity. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Tirassa P.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Iannitelli A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Sornelli F.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Cirulli F.,Section of Behavioral Neuroscience | And 7 more authors.
Rivista di Psichiatria | Year: 2012

Introduction. BDNF is present in human serum and its level changes have been used as a marker of antidepressant efficacy in some psychiatric disorders. In addition, the positive effects of light therapy on major depression suggest that circadian-regulated factors should be taken into account in the management of mood disorders. The aim of the present study was to test ultradian fluctuations in serum and salivary BDNF levels and their interaction with light therapy in a sample of healthy women. Methods. The study included 16 young women. Psychopathological status and chronotype traits were assessed by SPAQ, BDI, STAI, TAS, and MEQ. Standard light treatment protocol was applied. Serum and saliva were collected at 8.00, 13.00 and 20.00 hrs on the same day and at the end of light therapy. Results. BDNF levels declined over the course of the day both in serum and saliva, and a correlation between diurnal BDNF trend and personality traits and habits characterizing the morning and evening types in healthy women was found. Conclusions. The present study is one of the first to show measurable BDNF in human saliva and to demonstrate its daily fluctuations in both saliva and serum of healthy young women. The correlation between diurnal changes in BDNF and the personality traits associated with body rhythms corroborates the notion that salivary BDNF may be a useful biomarker for stress-related research and different clinical investigations. © Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore. Source

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