Neuroinflammation and Gene Therapy Lab

>>Neuroinflammation and Gene Therapy Lab

Traumatic injuries affecting the brain or spinal cord due to traffic or work accidents, sports activities or violence, constitute in Uruguay the main cause of death and disability in people under 40 years. These injuries are in many cases progressive, and could trigger psychiatric pathologies, in particular depression and dementias like Alzheimer disease.

The objective of our group is to understand the consequences that these traumas could have for the nervous system, and in this way decipher how to reduce them. The main responsible for the progression of the traumatic damage is the inflammatory process that is triggered after the trauma. Our hypothesis is that by stimulating the positive part of this process (tissue cleansing and healing) and restraining its negative components (oedema-swelling, toxic mediators) by means of modulating immune receptors, we may promote functional recovery.

We focus on the study of molecules capable of acting as checkpoints of inflammation, called immune inhibitory receptors such as CD300f or CD200R1. Also, working with experts from the State Insurance Bank of Uruguay (Banco de Seguros del Estado-BSE), we search for possible blood molecules that may represent biomarkers of the progression of these injuries in traumatic brain injury patients.

Through the administration of recombinant proteins (proteins produced outside our body) or the use of gene therapy (introduction or manipulation of genes in cells of the brain or spinal cord), we aim to stimulate cells to produces a specific therapeutic protein that modulates the response of the tissue towards the alleviation of inflammation.


Natalia Lago, PhD

Associate researcher

MSc Bruno Pannunzio

Daniela Alí, BSc

PhD student

Andrés Cawen, BSc

Invited researcher

Nathalia Vitureira, PhD

Honorary associated researcher

Luciana Negro, PhD

Currently Posdoc at NIH
  • Modulation of the microglial and macrophage phenotype by activation of the CD200R1 immune receptor after traumatic injuries in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve.

  • Modulation of the microglial and macrophage phenotype by the CD300f immune receptor and its role after traumatic injuries of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerve.

  • Role of the CD300f immune receptor in psychiatric conditions such as major depressive disorder or autistic spectrum disorder.

  • Preclinical and clinical research in traumatic brain injuries in association with the State Insurance Bank (BSE). Determination of blood biomarkers that could contribute to improve patient stratification and precision medicine approaches.

  • “Brain trauma: From preclinical research to the clinic”. April 9-14, 2018. Institut Pasteur de Montevideo. Organizers: IP Montevideo (Hugo Peluffo y Natalia Lago) Banco de Seguros del Estados (Vida Patiño, Ingrid Kasek y Alicia Silveira) and Universidad de la República (Hugo Peluffo).

  • 2019-2020 – “Cannabis y autism: characterization, extraction and effects in animal and cellular models” Subproject Principal Investigator at the IPMon: Natalia Lago, Project Alianza, ANII-Canapur-IPMon-UDELAR.

  • 2017-2019 – “Imunoreceptors as therapeutic target for the treatment of spinal cord injury: role of CD200-CD200R”. Principal Investigators: Natalia Lago/Hugo Peluffo. Universidad de la República, CSIC (CSIC I+D 2016), Uruguay.

  • 2017-2020 – “Precision medicine applied to traumatic brain injury: a strategic alliance BSE-IP Montevideo”. Principal Investigators at the IP Montevideo/UDELAR: Hugo Peluffo/Natalia Lago. Banco de Seguros del Estado, Uruguay.

  • 2015-2019 – “Neuroinflamation and glia”. Principal Investigators: Patricia Cassina/Luis Barbeito. Universidad de la República, CSIC (R&D groups 2014-143), Uruguay.

  • Natalia Lago, Bruno Pannunzio, Jesús Amo-Aparicio, Rubèn López-Vales and Hugo Peluffo. CD200 modulates spinal cord injury neuroinflammation and outcome through CD200R1. Brain Behaviour and Immunity. S0889-1591(18)30218-6, 2018.

  • M. Richter, M.L. Negro-Demontel, D. Blanco-Ocampo, E. Taranto, N. Lago y H. Peluffo. Thy1-YFP-H mice combined with parallel rod floor test evidence short and long-term traumatic brain injury progression. Aceptado en Current Protochols in Immunol. 2018.

  • Agueda Martinez-Barriocanal, Andrea Arcas-Garcia, Miriam Magallon-Lorenz, Aroa Ejarque-Ortiz, María Luciana Negro-Demontel, Emma Comas-Casellas, Simo Schwartz Jr, Sunny Malhotra, Xavier Montalban, Hugo Peluffo, Margarita Martin, Manuel Comabella and Joan Sayós. Effect of specific mutations in cd300 complexes formation; role of cd300f in multiple sclerosis. Scientific Reports, Vol 7:13544, 2017.

  • Sofía Ibarburu, Emiliano Trias, Natalia Lago, Hugo Peluffo, Romina Barreto-Núñez, Valentina Varela, Joseph Beckman, Luis Barbeito. Focal transplantation of aberrant glial cells carrying the SOD1G93A mutation into rat spinal cord induces extensive gliosis and motor neuron damage. Aceptado en Neuroimmunomodulation, 4(3):143-153 2017.

  • Lima, Thiago Zaqueu, Sardinha, Luis Roberto, Sayós, Joan, Mello, Luiz Eugênio and Peluffo, Hugo. Astrocytic Expression of the Immunoreceptor CD300f Protects Hippocampal Neurons from Amyloid-β Oligomer Toxicity in vitro. Current Alzheimer Research Vol. 14:1-6, 2017.

  • 4. Fernanda N. Kaufmann, Ana Paula Costa, Gabriele Ghisleni, Alexandre P. Diaz, Ana Lúcia Rodrigues, Hugo Peluffo, Manuella Pinto Kaster. NLRP3 inflammasome-driven pathways in depression: clinical and preclinical findings. Brain Behavior and Immunity, 64:367-383, 2017.

  • H. Peluffo*, L. Acarin, A. Arís, P. González, A. Villaverde, B. Castellano, B. González. Neuroprotection from excitotoxicity by Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase gene delivery to the postnatal rat brain by a modular protein vector. BMC Neuroscience, 7:35 (2006). *Autor al que debe dirigirse la correspondencia.

  • Faiz M, Acarin L, Peluffo H, Villapol S, Castellano B, Gonzalez B. Antioxidant Cu/Zn SOD: Expression in postnatal brain progenitor cells. Neurosci. Lett. 401:71-76, (2006).

  • H. Peluffo*, P. González, A. Arís, L. Acarin*, A. Villaverde, B. Castellano, B. González. RGD domains neuroprotect the immature brain by a glial dependent mechanism. Annals of Neurology. 62:251-261 (2007). *Autores a los que debe dirigirse la correspondencia.

  • Gonzalez P., Burgaya F., Acarin L., Peluffo H., Castellano B. Gonzalez. B. IL-10 and IL-10RI are upregulated in glial cells after an excitotoxic injury to the postnatal rat brain. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 68:391-403 (2009).

  • Gandelman, M., Peluffo, H., Beckman, J.S., Cassina, P. y Barbeito, L. Extracellular ATP and the P2X7 receptor in astrocyte-mediated motor neuron death: implications for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Journal of Neuroinflammation. 7:33 (2010).

  • Domingo-Espín, J., E. Vazquez, J. Ganz, O. Conchillo, E. García-Fruitós, J. Cedano, U. Unzueta, V. Petegnief, N. Gonzalez-Montalbán, A.M. Planas, X. Daura, H. Peluffo, N. Ferrer-Miralles, y A. Villaverde. The nanoparticulate architecture of protein-based artificial viruses is supported by protein-DNA interactions. Nanomedicine. 6:1047-1061 (2011).

  • H. Peluffo, Modular Multifunctional Protein Vectors for Gene Therapy. En: Non-viral Gene Therapy, Prof. Xubo Yuan Ed., Editorial INTECH, pp:597-614, 2011, ISBN: 9789533075389.

  • Pau Gonzalez; Hugo Peluffo; Laia Acarin; Antonio Villaverde; Berta Gonzalez y Bernardo Castellano. IL-10 overexpression does not synergize with the neuroprotective action of RGD-containing vectors after postnatal brain excitotoxicity, but modulates the main inflammatory cell responses. Journal of Neuroscience Research, (Epub 2011) 90:143-59 (2012).

  • Peluffo, H*; Alí-Ruiz, D; Ejarque-Ortíz, A; Heras-Alvarez, V; Comas-Casellas, E; Martínez-Barriocanal, A; Kamaid, A; Alvarez-Errico, D; Negro, ML; Lago, N; Schwartz S Jr; Villaverde, A; y Sayós, J. Overexpression of the immunoreceptor CD300f has a neuroprotective role in a model of acute brain injury. Brain Pathology (Epub 2011) 22:318-328 (2012). * Autor al que debe dirigirse la correspondencia.

  • *Peluffo, H., *Foster, E., Ahmed, S.G., Lago, N., Hutson, T.H., Moon, L., Yip, P., Wanisch, K., Caraballo-Miralles, V., Olmos, G., Lladó, J., McMahon, S.B. and Yáñez-Muñoz, R.J. Efficient gene expression from integration-deficient lentiviral vectors in the spinal cord. Gene Therapy 20:645-657, 2013. *Ambos autores contribuyeron igualmente al trabajo.

  • Joan Domingo-Espín, Valérie Petegnief, Núria de Vera, Oscar Conchillo-Solé, Paolo Saccardo, Ugutz Unzueta, Esther Vazquez, Juan Cedano, Luciana Negro, Xavier Daura, Hugo Peluffo, Anna M. Planas, Antonio Villaverde, Neus Ferrer-Miralles. RGD-based cell ligands for cell-targeted drug delivery act as potent trophic factors. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine. 2012 Nov;8(8):1263. (Epub 2012 Jul 25)

  • Hugo Peluffo*, Pau Gonzalez, Laia Acarin, Anna Aris, Rudy Beyaert, Antonio Villaverde y Berta Gonzalez. Overexpression of the nuclear factor kappa B inhibitor A20 is neurotoxic after an excitotoxic injury to the immature rat brain. Neurological Research 35(3):308-319, 2013. *Autor al que debe dirigirse la correspondencia.

  • Negro, M.L. P. Saccardo, C. Giacomini, R.J. Yáñez-Muñoz, N. Ferrer-Miralles, E. Vazquez, A. Villaverde and H, Peluffo*. Comparative analysis of lentiviral vectors and modular protein nanovectors for traumatic brain injury gene therapy. Molecular Therapy – Methods & Clinical Development, 1:14047, 2014. *Autor al que debe dirigirse la correspondencia.

  • Aroa Ejarque-Ortiz, Carme Solà, Águeda Martínez-Barriocanal, Simó Schwartz Jr., Margarita Martín, Hugo Peluffo, Joan Sayós. The receptor cmrf35-like molecule-1 (clm-1) enhances the production of LPS-induced pro-inflammatory mediators during microglial activation. PLoS ONE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123928, 2015.

  • Peluffo H*, Solari-Saquieres P*, Negro-Demontel ML, Francos-Quijorna I, Navarro X, López-Vales R, Sayós J, Lago N. CD300f immunoreceptor contributes to peripheral nerve regeneration by the modulation of macrophage inflammatory phenotype. J. Neuroinflammation, 12:145 (12 August) 2015. *Ambos autores contribuyeron igualmente al trabajo.

  • Hugo Peluffo, Ugutz Unzueta, María Luciana Negro, Zhikun Xu, Esther Vazquez, Neus Ferrer-Miralles and Antonio Villaverde. BBB-targeting, protein-based nanomedicines for drug and nucleic acid delivery to the CNS. Biotechnology Advances, 33(2):277-287, 2015.

  • Santos-Nogueira, López-Serrano, Hernández, Lago N, Astudillo AM, Balsinde J, Estivill-Torrús G, de Fonseca FR, Chun J, López-Vales R. Activation of Lysophosphatidic Acid Receptor Type 1 Contributes to Pathophysiology of Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of Neuroscience, 4703-14, 2015.