Group: Cellular Neurophysiology
Registry number: PC11/0522
Research thematic areas:
UNESCO Code: 2490.01
Relevant characteristics of the research group (description of the group's activity):
Our group assesses the machanisms studies the mechanisms by which the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone regulate the excitability of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC takes part in actions such as decision-making, reasoning, emotion regulation and motivaiton. Contrary to the other areas of the brain, the PFC matures late, undergoing major anatomical and functional changes during puberty and adolescence, coinciding with an increase in oestrogen and progesterone levels. Both hormones are necessary for the development of a correct balance between excitation and inhibition of the CPF neurons, in particular, they are necessary for the proper maturation of GABAergic inhibitory transmission mediated by the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) during this stage of life. However, the cellular mechanisms by which these hormones regulate such inhibitory and whether there are sexual differencies in such reulation reamain unknown. Our objective is to study the moderator role of estrogen and progesterone receptors on GABAergic transmission in CPF neurons during the peripubertal period and to assess whether there are sex differences in this regulation. For this task, using the patch-clamp technique, we will measure the effect that the activation of different receptors for these hormones has on GABAergic transmission in CPF neurons in mouse brain slices (figure 1). The results of this project are going to allow for a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms by which sexual hormones regulate neuronal excitability in the CPF and possible sex differences. These results may also be useful for the design of future treatments to regulate the abnormal GABAergic transmission present in certain affective and cognitive disorders, the prevalence of which, moreover, differs between sexes.