Ana Perez-Castillo

Institute for Biomedical Research “Alberto Sols“, Madrid, Madrid, Spain

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Publications (57)272.29 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: 6-Methoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carboline (pinoline) and N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine (melatonin) are both structurally related to 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin). Here we describe the design, synthesis and characterization of a series of melatonin rigid analogues resulting from the hybridization of both pinoline and melatonin structures. The pharmacological evaluation of melatonin - pinoline hybrids comprises serotonergic and melatonergic receptors, metabolic enzymes (monoamine oxidases), antioxidant potential, the in vitro blood-brain barrier permeability, and neurogenic studies. Pinoline at trace concentrations and 2-acetyl-6-methoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carboline (2) were able to stimulate early neurogenesis and neuronal maturation in an in vitro model of neural stem cells isolated from the adult rat subventricular zone. Such effects are presumably mediated via serotonergic and melatonergic stimulation respectively.
    ACS Chemical Neuroscience 03/2015; DOI:10.1021/acschemneuro.5b00041 · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein ß (C/EBPß) is a transcription factor, which was first identified as a regulator of differentiation and inflammatory processes mainly in adipose tissue and liver; however, its function in the brain was largely unknown for many years. Previous studies from our laboratory indicated that C/EBPß is implicated in inflammatory process and brain injury, since mice lacking this gene were less susceptible to kainic acid-induced injury.Methods We first performed cDNA microarrays analysis using hippocampal RNA isolated from C/EBPß +/+ and C/EBPß ¿/¿ mice. Immunocytochemical and immunohistochemical studies were done to evaluate C/EBPß and C3 levels. Transient transfection experiments were made to analyze transcriptional regulation of C3 by C/EBPß. To knockdown C/EBPß and C3 expression, mouse astrocytes were infected with lentiviral particles expressing an shRNA specific for C/EBPß or an siRNA specific for C3.ResultsAmong the genes displaying significant changes in expression was complement component 3 (C3), which showed a dramatic decrease in mRNA content in the hippocampus of C/EBPß ¿/¿ mice. C3 is the central component of the complement and is implicated in different brain disorders. In this work we have found that C/EBPß regulates C3 levels in rodents glial in vitro and in the rat Substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) in vivo following an inflammatory insult. Analysis of the mouse C3 promoter showed that it is directly regulated by C/EBPß through a C/EBPß consensus site located at position ¿616/-599 of the gene. In addition, we show that depletion of C/EBPß by a specific shRNA results in a significant decrease in the levels of C3 together with a reduction in the increased levels of pro-inflammatory agents elicited by lipopolysaccharide treatment.Conclusions Altogether, these results indicate that C3 is a downstream target of C/EBPß, and it could be a mediator of the pro-inflammatory effects of this transcription factor in neural cells.
    Journal of Neuroinflammation 01/2015; 12(1):14. DOI:10.1186/s12974-014-0223-2 · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that decreased expression of CCAAT/Enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ) inhibits the growth of glioblastoma cells and diminishes their transformation capacity and migration. In agreement with this, we showed that C/EBPβ depletion decreases the mRNA levels of different genes involved in metastasis and invasion. Among these, we found S100 calcium binding protein A4 (S100A4) to be almost undetectable in glioblastoma cells deficient in C/EBPβ. Here, we have evaluated the possible role of S100A4 in the observed effects of C/EBPβ in glioblastoma cells and the mechanism through which S100A4 levels are controlled by C/EBPβ. Our results show that C/EBPβ suppression significantly reduced the levels of S100A4 in murine GL261 and human T98G glioblastoma cells. By employing an S100A4-promoter reporter, we observed a significant induction in the transcriptional activation of the S100A4 gene by C/EBPβ. Furthermore, overexpression of S100A4 in C/EBPβ-depleted glioblastoma cells reverses the enhanced migration and motility induced by this transcription factor. Our data also point to a role of S100A4 in glioblastoma cell invasion and suggest that the C/EBPβ gene controls the invasive potential of GL261 and T98G cells through direct regulation of S100A4. Finally, this study indicates a role of C/EBPβ on the maintenance of the stem cell population present in GL261 glioblastoma cells.
    Oncotarget 01/2015; · 6.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Different studies have suggested that the nucleotide cyclic adenosine 3', 5'-monophosphate can actively play an important role as a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agent after a brain injury. The phosphodiesterase 7 (PDE7) enzyme is one of the enzymes responsible for controlling specifically the intracellular levels of cyclic adenosine 3', 5'-monophosphate in the immune and central nervous systems. Therefore, this enzyme could play an important role in brain inflammation and neurodegeneration. In this regard, using different chemical inhibitors of PDE7 we have demonstrated their neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory activity in different models of neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD). In the present study, we have used the toxin 6-hydroxydopamine and lipopolysaccharide to model PD and explore the protective effects of PDE7B deficiency in dopaminergic neurons cell death. Lentivirus-mediated PDE7B deprivation conferred marked in vitro and in vivo neuroprotection against 6-hydroxydopamine and lipopolysaccharide toxicity in dopaminergic neurons and preserved motor function involving the dopamine system in mouse. Our results substantiate previous data and provide a validation of PDE7B enzyme as a valuable new target for therapeutic development in the treatment of PD. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Neurobiology of Aging 10/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.10.008 · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A forward chemical genetic approach was followed to discover new targets and lead compounds for Parkinson's disease (PD) treatment. By analysis of the cell protection produced by some small molecules, a diphenyl sulfide compound was revealed to be a new phosphodiesterase 7 (PDE7) inhibitor and identified as a new hit. This result allows us to confirm the utility of PDE7 inhibitors as a potential pharmacological treatment of PD. Based on these data, a diverse family of diphenyl sulfides has been developed and pharmacologically evaluated in the present work. Moreover, to gain insight into the safety of PDE7 inhibitors for human chronic treatment, we evaluated the new compounds in a surrogate emesis model, showing non-emetic effects.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 09/2014; 57(20). DOI:10.1021/jm501090m · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we describe a new family of melatonin - N,N-dibenzyl(N-methyl)amine hybrids showing a balanced multifunctional profile covering neurogenic, antioxidant, cholinergic, and neuroprotective properties at low-micromolar concentrations. They promote maturation of neural stem cells into a neuronal phenotype and thus, they could contribute to CNS repair. They also protect neural cells against mitochondrial oxidative stress, show antioxidant properties, and inhibit human acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Moreover, they displace propidium from the peripheral anionic site of AChE, preventing the beta-amyloid aggregation promoted by AChE. In addition, they show low cell toxicity and could penetrate into the CNS. This multifunctional profile highlight these melatonin - N,N-dibenzyl(N-methyl)amine hybrids as useful prototypes in the research of innovative drugs for Alzheimer's disease.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 04/2014; 57(9). DOI:10.1021/jm5000613 · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic neuroinflammation has been increasingly recognized as a primary mechanism underlying acute brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Enhanced expression of diverse pro-inflammatory agents in glial cells has been shown to contribute to the cell death that takes place in these disorders. Previous data from our group have shown that different inhibitors of the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) specific phosphodiesterase 7 (PDE7) and glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) enzymes are potent anti-inflammatory agents in different models of brain injury. In this study, we investigated cross-talk between PDE7 and GSK-3, two relevant therapeutic targets for neurological disorders, using a chemical approach. To this end, we compared specific inhibitors of GSK-3 and PDE7 with dual inhibitors of both enzymes with regard to anti-inflammatory effects in primary cultures of glial cells treated with lipopolysaccharide. Our results show that the GSK-3 inhibitors act exclusively by inhibition of this enzyme. By contrast, PDE7 inhibitors exert their effects via inhibition of PDE7 to increase intracellular cAMP levels but also through indirect inhibition of GSK-3. Activation of protein kinase A by cAMP results in phosphorylation of Ser9 of GSK-3 and subsequent inhibition. Our results indicate that the indirect inhibition of GSK-3 by PDE7 inhibitors is an important mechanism that should be considered in the future development of pharmacological treatments.
    ACS Chemical Neuroscience 01/2014; 5(3). DOI:10.1021/cn400166d · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder characterized by degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. Because the current therapies only lead to temporary, limited improvement and have severe side effects, new approaches to treat PD need to be developed. To discover new targets for potential therapeutic intervention, a chemical genetic approach involving the use of small molecules as pharmacological tools has been implemented. First, a screening of an in-house chemical library on a well-established cellular model of PD was done followed by a detailed pharmacological analysis of the hits. Here, we report the results found for the small heterocyclic derivative called SC001, which after different enzymatic assays was revealed to be a new glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) inhibitor with IC(50) = 3.38 ± 0.08 μM. To confirm that GSK-3 could be a good target for PD, the evaluation of a set of structurally diverse GSK-3 inhibitors as neuroprotective agents for PD was performed. Results show that inhibitors of GSK-3 have neuroprotective effects in vitro representing a new pharmacological option for the disease-modifying treatment of PD. Furthermore, we show that SC001 is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, protects dopaminergic neurons, and reduces microglia activation in in vivo models of Parkinson disease, being a good candidate for further drug development.
    ACS Chemical Neuroscience 02/2013; 4(2):350-60. DOI:10.1021/cn300182g · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is a serine/threonine kinase originally identified as a regulator of glycogen metabolism but it also plays a pivotal role in numerous cellular functions, including differentiation, cell cycle regulation, and proliferation. The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, together with the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles, is one of the regions in which neurogenesis takes place in the adult brain. Here, using a chemical genetic approach that involves the use of several diverse inhibitors of GSK-3 as pharmacological tools, we show that inhibition of GSK-3 induces proliferation, migration, and differentiation of neural stem cells toward a neuronal phenotype in in vitro studies. Also, we demonstrate that inhibition of GSK-3 with the small molecule NP03112, called tideglusib, induces neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of adult rats. Taken together, our results suggest that GSK-3 should be considered as a new target molecule for modulating the production and integration of new neurons in the hippocampus as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases or brain injury and, consequently, its inhibitors may represent new potential therapeutic drugs in neuroregenerative medicine.
    ACS Chemical Neuroscience 11/2012; 3(11):963-71. DOI:10.1021/cn300110c · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We analyzed the role of the cannabinoid system in the cognitive deficits caused by developmentally-induced hypothyroidism. We studied in control and hypothyroid rats the effect of a cannabinoid agonist on spatial memory, hippocampal phosphorylation of CREB and expression of early genes. Our results show that, 1-basal hippocampal expression of early genes and spatial learning are decreased in hypothyroid rats; 2-hypothyroid rats are very sensitive to cannabinoid agonists. Low dose of cannabinoid agonist ineffective in controls altered spatial memory, CREB's phosphorylation and early gene expression in hypothyroids. These effects are not due a change in CB1 receptor (CB1R) content. 3-Treatment of hypothyroid rats with thyroid hormones normalized the biochemical and behavioral responses to cannabinoid agonists but did not correct the low basal levels of early gene transcripts and the deficits in spatial learning. All these data suggest that the hippocampal deregulation of early genes expression could play an important role in the basal cognitive deficits of hypothyroid rats.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 10/2012; 365(1). DOI:10.1016/j.mce.2012.10.004 · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress plays an important role in neuronal death in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Hydroxyphenyl nitrones, derivatives of the nitrone spin trap alpha-phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone (PBN), were synthesized and their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activity in neural cells evaluated. These hydroxyphenyl nitrones 5-7 were synthesized by reaction of the corresponding hydroxybenzaldehyde with N-tert-butyl hydroxylamine under microwave irradiation. They showed good peroxyl free radical scavenger capacities, analyzed by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Also inhibited peroxynitrite-mediated tyrosine nitration of alpha-synuclein in vitro and protected human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells against SIN-1 and 6-OHDA toxicity when micromolar concentrations were used. Besides, the hydroxyphenyl nitrones evaluated showed anti-inflammatory activity modulating nitrite production in primary neural cell cultures of astrocytes and microglia treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a potent inflammatory agent. These experimental data suggest a potential therapeutic use of these hydroxyphenyl nitrones against oxygen and nitrogen reactive species involved in neurodegenerative pathology.
    European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 10/2012; 58C:44-49. DOI:10.1016/j.ejmech.2012.09.044 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased levels of glutamate causing excitotoxic damage accompany many neurological disorders. A well-characterized model of excitotoxic damage involves administration of kainic acid (KA), which causes limbic seizure activity and subsequent neuronal death, particularly in the CA1 and CA3 areas of the hippocampus. Inhibition of the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) and cAMP levels might play an important role in neuroprotection. As intracellular cAMP levels depend, in part, on the activity of the phosphodiesterase enzymes (PDEs), these enzymes have recently emerged as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of several diseases. In previous works, we have shown a potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect of GSK-3 inhibition in a model of excitotoxicity, as well as a reduction of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuronal cell death after phosphodiesterase 7 inhibition, which leads to an increase in cAMP levels. This study was undertaken to determine whether simultaneous inhibition of GSK-3 and PDE-7 by a novel 5-imino-1,2,4-thiadiazole compound, named VP1.14, could prevent the massive neuronal loss in the hippocampus evoked by intrahippocampal injection of KA. Here, we show that rats treated with VP1.14 showed a reduced inflammatory response after KA injection, and exhibited a significant reduction in pyramidal cell loss in the CA1 and CA3 areas of the hippocampus. Studies with hippocampal HT22 cells in vitro also showed a clear neuroprotective effect of VP1.14 and an anti-inflammatory effect shown by a decrease in the nitrite liberation and in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines by primary cultures of astrocytes treated with lipopolysaccharide.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 07/2012; 122(6):1193-202. DOI:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2012.07866.x · 4.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphodiesterase (PDE) 7 is involved in proinflammatory processes, being widely expressed both on lymphocytes and on certain brain regions. Specific inhibitors of PDE7 have been recently reported as potential new drugs for the treatment of neurological disorders because of their ability to increase intracellular levels of cAMP and thus to modulate the inflammatory process, as a neuroprotective well-established strategy. Multiple sclerosis is an unmet disease in which pathologies on the immune system, T-cells, and specific neural cells are involved simultaneously. Therefore, PDE7 inhibitors able to interfere with all these targets may represent an innovative therapy for this pathology. Here, we report a new chemically diverse family of heterocyclic PDE7 inhibitors, discovered and optimized by using molecular modeling studies, able to increase cAMP levels in cells, decrease inflammatory activation on primary neural cultures, and also attenuate the clinical symptoms in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model. These results led us to propose the use of PDE7 inhibitors as innovative therapeutic agents for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 03/2012; 55(7):3274-84. DOI:10.1021/jm201720d · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cumulative evidence strongly supports that glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is a pathogenic molecule when it is up-dysregulated, emerging as an important therapeutic target in severe unmet human diseases. GSK-3 specific inhibitors might be promising effective drugs for the treatment of devastating pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, and mood disorders. As GSK-3 has the ability to phosphorylate primed substrates, small molecules able to bind to this site should be perfect drug candidates, able to partially block the activity of the enzyme over some specific substrates. Here, we report substituted 5-imino-1,2,4-thiadiazoles as the first small molecules able to inhibit GSK-3 in a substrate competitive manner. These compounds are cell permeable, able to decrease inflammatory activation and to selectively differentiate neural stem cells. Overall, 5-imino-1,2,4-thiadiazoles are presented here as new molecules able to decrease neuronal cell death and to increase endogenous neurogenesis blocking the GSK-3 substrate site.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2012; 55(4):1645-61. DOI:10.1021/jm201463v · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A simple and efficient synthetic method for the preparation of quinazoline type phosphodiesterase 7 (PDE7) inhibitors, based on microwave irradiation, has been developed. The use of this methodology improved yields and reaction times, providing a scalable procedure. These compounds are pharmacologically interesting because of their in vivo efficacy both in spinal cord injury and Parkinson's disease models, as shown in previous studies from our group. Herein we describe for the first time that administration of one of the PDE7 inhibitors here optimized, 3-phenyl-2,4-dithioxo-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinazoline (compound 5), ameliorated brain damage and improved behavioral outcome in a permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) stroke model. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these PDE7 inhibitors are potent anti-inflammatory as well as neuroprotective agents in primary cultures of neural cells. These results led us to propose PDE7 inhibitors as a new class of therapeutic agents for neuroprotection.
    European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 11/2011; 47(1):175-85. DOI:10.1016/j.ejmech.2011.10.040 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is one of the regions in which neurogenesis takes place in the adult brain. We have previously demonstrated that CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ) is expressed in the granular layer of the dentate gyrus of the adult mouse hippocampus. Taking into account the important role of C/EBPβ in the consolidation of long term memory, the fact that newborn neurons in the hippocampus contribute to learning and memory processes, and the role of this transcription factor, previously demonstrated by our group, in regulating neuronal differentiation, we speculated that this transcription factor could regulate stem/progenitor cells in this region of the brain. Here, we show, using C/EBPβ knockout mice, that C/EBPβ expression is observed in the subset of newborn cells that proliferate in the hippocampus of the adult brain. Mice lacking C/EBPβ present reduced survival of newborn cells in the hippocampus, a decrease in the number of these cells that differentiate into neurons and a diminished number of cells that are proliferating in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus. These results were further confirmed in vitro. Neurosphere cultures from adult mice deficient in C/EBPβ present less proliferation and neuronal differentiation than neurospheres derived from wild type mice. In summary, using in vivo and in vitro strategies, we have identified C/EBPβ as a key player in the proliferation and survival of the new neurons produced in the adult mouse hippocampus. Our results support a novel role of C/EBPβ in the processes of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, providing new insights into the mechanisms that control neurogenesis in this region of the brain.
    PLoS ONE 10/2011; 6(10):e24842. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0024842 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2011; 7(4). DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2011.05.1903 · 17.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: C/EBPβ is a leucine-zipper transcription factor implicated in the control of metabolism, development, cell differentiation, and proliferation. However, it remains unclear its role in tumor development. Here, we show that down-regulation of C/EBPβ by RNA interference inhibits proliferation in the GL261 murine glioblastoma cell line, induces an arrest of the cell cycle at the G0/G1 boundary, and diminishes their transformation capacity and migration. In addition, we show that C/EBPβ regulates the expression of several DNA damage response- and invasion-related genes. Lastly, C/EBPβ depletion significantly retards tumor onset and prolongs survival in a murine orthotopic brain tumor model. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed a significant diminution of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) labeling in tumors derived from C/EBPβ-depleted GL261 cells compared with that in controls. These results show, for the first time, the dependence of glioma cells on C/EBPβ and suggest a potential role of this transcription factor in glioma development.
    Neuroscience 03/2011; 176:110-9. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.12.025 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphodiesterase 7 plays a major role in down-regulation of protein kinase A activity by hydrolyzing cAMP in many cell types. This cyclic nucleotide plays a key role in signal transduction in a wide variety of cellular responses. In the brain, cAMP has been implicated in learning, memory processes and other brain functions. Here we show a novel function of phosphodiesterase 7 inhibition on nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuronal death. We found that S14, a heterocyclic small molecule inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 7, conferred significant neuronal protection against different insults both in the human dopaminergic cell line SH-SY5Y and in primary rat mesencephalic cultures. S14 treatment also reduced microglial activation, protected dopaminergic neurons and improved motor function in the lipopolysaccharide rat model of Parkinson disease. Finally, S14 neuroprotective effects were reversed by blocking the cAMP signaling pathways that operate through cAMP-dependent protein kinase A. Our findings demonstrate that phosphodiesterase 7 inhibition can protect dopaminergic neurons against different insults, and they provide support for the therapeutic potential of phosphodiesterase 7 inhibitors in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Parkinson disease.
    PLoS ONE 02/2011; 6(2):e17240. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0017240 · 3.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
272.29 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1997–2015
    • Institute for Biomedical Research “Alberto Sols“
      • Department of Experimental Models of Human Disease
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 2014
    • Instituto de Química Avanzada
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2011–2014
    • Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red, Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 1992–2014
    • Spanish National Research Council
      • Instituto de Química Médica
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 1994–2012
    • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
      • Faculty of Medicine
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • 1995–2011
    • Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas de Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2005
    • Central University of Venezuela
      • Instituto de Medicina Experimental
      Caracas, Distrito Federal, Venezuela
  • 1994–2005
    • Complutense University of Madrid
      • • Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular II
      • • Facultad de Medicina
      Madrid, Madrid, Spain