Laboratory of Experimental Neurophysiology

Responsabile: Picconi Barbara
Staff: Calabrese Valeria, Calabrese Valeria, Cardinale Antonella, De Iure Antonio, Russo Marta

In the Laboratory of Experimental Neurophysiology directed by Professor Barbara Picconi, we study the mechanisms, synaptic, biomolecular and metabolic involved during the process of dopaminergic neurodegeneration, typical of Parkinson’s disease. In the laboratory numerous experimental models are examined, but the main goal is to put at the center of these studies, transdifferentiated neurons from iPCs of the same patients taken from a healthy or diseased donor subject and able through modern biomolecular induction techniques to transdifferentiate into mature neurons. It is also of considerable interest to study the network mechanisms in cortical, hippocampal and subcortical areas underlying motor and cognitive alterations in various degenerative diseases.


The main objective of the laboratory is to investigate the pathogenetic mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease (MP) and other neurodegenerative diseases and its correlation with neuroinflammation processes. The laboratory uses electrophysiological, amperometric techniques for neurotransmitter release and confocal immunofluorescence. Laboratory activities are organized in experimental groups with models of increasing neurological complexity starting from immortalized cells characterized by dopamine release alone to more complex neuronal cultures, effects of neurotoxic agents, which mimic typical MP damage, will be studied on these models:

1) Study of the alterations in morphology and on dopamine release, in pc12, induced by the application of Rotenone at different concentrations and different timings;
2) Electrophysiological and morphological studies of neuroinflammatory and degenerative processes induced by in vitro application of alpha-syn, in undifferentiated PC12 that differentiated into NGF-matured neurons.
3) Corticostriatal, hippocampal, and cortical organotypic cultures will allow us through the use of Multi-Electrode Array Electrophysiology (MEA) recordings to analyze network and circuitry changes under different neurotoxic and/or therapeutic conditions.

Interessi di Ricerca

  • Study rotenone excitatory effect and neurodegenerative agents;
  • Role of inflammation in neurodegeneration;
  • Network studies in cortical and subcortical structures;
  • Molecular and neuronal mechanisms underlying brain rehabilitation;
  • Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and networking;
  • Neurodegeneration and brain neurorehabilitation.


Tomagra G, Franchino C, Cesano F, Chiarion G, de Iure A, Carbone E, Calabresi P, Mesin L, Picconi B, Marcantoni A, Carabelli V (2023) Corrigendum: Alpha-synuclein oligomers alter the spontaneous firing discharge of cultured midbrain neurons. Front Cell Neurosci 17:1176036.   Marino G, Campanelli F, Natale G, De Carluccio M, Servillo F, Ferrari E, Gardoni F, Caristo ME, Picconi B, Cardinale A, Loffredo V, Crupi F, De Leonibus E, Viscomi MT, Ghiglieri V, Calabresi P (2023) Intensive exercise ameliorates motor and cognitive symptoms in experimental Parkinson’s disease by restoring striatal synaptic plasticity. Sci Adv 9:eadh1403.   Iemolo A, De Risi M, Giordano N, Torromino G, Somma C, Cavezza D, Colucci M, Mancini M, de Iure A, Granata R, Picconi B, Calabresi P, De Leonibus E (2023) Synaptic mechanisms underlying onset and progression of memory deficits caused by hippocampal and midbrain synucleinopathy. NPJ Parkinsons Dis 9:92.   Mancini A, de Iure A, Picconi B (2022) Basic mechanisms of plasticity and learning. Handb Clin Neurol 184:21-34.   Calabrese V, Picconi B, Heck N, Campanelli F, Natale G, Marino G, Sciaccaluga M, Ghiglieri V, Tozzi A, Anceaume E, Cuoc E, Caboche J, Conquet F, Calabresi P, Charvin D (2022) A positive allosteric modulator of mGlu4 receptors restores striatal plasticity in an animal model of l-Dopa-induced dyskinesia. Neuropharmacology 218:109205.

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