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RG Neuro Anatomy


Head of the Research Group

Dr. Anita C Hansson

Phone: +49 621 1703-6293

Fax: +49 621 1703-6255


Laboratory Building, 2nd Floor, Room 303


The recently (Fall 2012) established RG aims to investigate the neuronal pathways implicated in drug addiction and additionally the neurobiology and function of neurotransmitter systems involved in pathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to addictive behavior.

The work is focused on neuroanatomical pharmacological research using post-mortem brain tissue of deceased addicts (e.g. alcohol and cocaine addicts), which are presently available through international human brain banks. Further autopsy samples from schizophrenic and depressive subjects are currently available through collaborations with Dr. Schmitt (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich) and Dr. Palkovits (Human Brain Tissue Bank, Budapest). As a complement to studies of the human brain, animal models are used to pharmacological validate and examine molecular mechanisms underlying addictive behavior.

Techniques such as in situ hybridization, qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, receptor autoradiography and activity assays as well as general biochemical assays are used for detailed quantitative analyses of genes and respective protein products. Major neurotransmitter systems (e.g. glutamate, GABA, dopamine, opioid, CRH, oxytocin, serotonin) and/or candidate treatment targets from both preclinical and clinical research will be analyzed in brain tissue at transcriptional, protein, functional and structural level, and (if applicable) the expression correlated to the respective genotype.

This highly translational research approach combines behavioral, molecular and neuroanatomical techniques and thus will provide an important correlate to human in vivo PET and neuroimaging experiments. Through this approach we will fundamentally increase our knowledge about common mechanisms in addiction, which  may lead eventually to the identification of novel treatment targets for medication development.

Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit (ZI) - https://www.zi-mannheim.de