Neuroinflammation group



Principal investigator: Eduardo Molina Holgado, Ph.D.




The Neuroinflammation laboratory was founded in 2004 by Eduardo Molina Holgado and Ángel Arevalo Martin, researchers from the Cajal Institute of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) in Madrid. Our group is officially defined as a stable research group according to the criteria established by the regional Health Ministry of Castille La Mancha (JCCM). Our group investigates the therapeutic potential of drugs acting upon endogenous canabinoid system, especially those that can be used in treating neurodegenerative pathologies of the central nervous system (CNS). Our work is divided in two main research lines:



Line 1.- Role of the endogenous cannabinoid tone in the progression of spinal cord injury and its pharmacological modulation as a potential tool in neuroprotective and neuroreparative therapies.



Line 2.- Role of the endocannabinoid system in myelination and remyelination in demyelinating pathologies.



However, the two lines are highly related since demyelination features prominently in spinal lesions of different etiologies.



Furthermore, we have developed several sub-projects such as the one investigating the function of stem cells and/or endogenous precursor cells and their modulation by the cannabinoids, as well as the study of the role that the cannabinoid system may play in modulating the central and peripheral inflammation in different CNS pathologies (e.g. traumatic spinal cord lesions, multiple sclerosis).





Selected publications


- Garcia-Ovejero D et al. (2009) The endocannabinoid system is activated in response to spinal cord injury in rats. Neurobiol of Disease 33: 57-71.


- Gomez O et al. (2010) The constitutive production of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol participates in oligodendrocyte differentiation. GLIA 58:1913-1927.


- Arevalo-Martin A et al. (2012) The early activation of the endocannabinoid system after spinal cord injury is an endogenous protective response involved in the spontaneous motor recovery. PLOS ONE 7 (11):e49057.


- Garcia-Ovejero D et al. (2014) Progesterone reduces secondary damage, preserves white matter and improves locomotor outcome after spinal cord contusion. J Neurotrauma. 31:857-871.


- Garcia-Ovejero D et al. (2015). The ependymal region of the adult human spinal cord differs from other species and shows ependymoma-like features. Brain 138(Pt 6):1583-97.


- Gomez O et al. (2015) A Basal Tone of 2-Arachidonoylglycerol Contributes to Early Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Proliferation by Activating Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K)/AKT and the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (MTOR) Pathways. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol 10:309–317.


- Arevalo-Martin A et al. (2016) Cannabinoids to treat Spinal Cord injury. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 64: 190-199.








Eduardo Molina Holgado: Laboratory chief; PhD. in Neurological Sciences; Université de Montréal (Canadá).



Ángel Arévalo-Martin: Postdoctoral researcher; PhD in Biology-Major in Neurosciences; Universidad Complutense, Madrid.



Daniel García-Ovejero: Postdoctoral researcher; PhD in Biology; Universidad Complutense, Madrid.



Rafael Moreno Luna



Pedro Felipe Esteban Ruiz:



Beatriz Paniagua Torija:



Concepción Sánchez-Caro: Laboratory technician





Ongoing projects


- Control of remyelination by the endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoyl glycerol.

PI: Eduardo Molina Holgado; Funded by Instituto de Salud Carlos III (2012-2014).



- Mobilization of stem- and neural precursor cells in the intact and damaged spinal cord. Effects of cannabinoid system and its interaction with the immune system and inflammatory mediators.

PI: Daniel García-Ovejero; Financed by the Mutua Madrileña Foundation (2012-2014).





Research lines


Line 1.- To study the function of the endocannabinoid tone in the progression of spinal cord injury and its pharmacological modulation as a neuroprotective and neurorreparative therapy.

- Secondary damage protection and study of the local and peripheral inflammation after spinal cord injury.

- Glial reactivity and endogenous reparative potential in the spinal cord of rodents and humans.



Line 2.- To investigate the role of the endocannabinoid system in the process of myelination and axonal remyelination in demyelinating diseases.

- Control of proliferation, migration and differentiation of oligodendrocytes     by the endocannabinoid system.

- Study of the endocannabinoid system in demyelinating diseases (multiple sclerosis, acute demyelination).





-Dr. Francisco Molina-Holgado, Roehampton University (Reino Unido).


-Prof. Carmen Guaza, Instituto Cajal-CSIC (Madrid).


-Dr. Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Laboratorio de Neurología Molecular, Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos.


-Dra. Florencia Labombarda, Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina).


-Dr. Lukas Grassner, Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg (Austria) y Trauma Center Murnau (Alemania).


-Dr. Isidro Ferrer, Institut de Neuropatologia, Servei d’Anatomia Patològica, IDIBELL-Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, Universitat de Barcelona.


-Dr. Andrea Poretti, The John Hopkins Hospital  (EEUU).


-Dr. Michael Norenberg, The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (EEUU).