Paula Vergara

National Polytechnic Institute, Ciudad de México, Mexico City, Mexico

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Publications (40)106.69 Total impact

  • Elizabeth Bautista · Paula Vergara · José Segovia
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    ABSTRACT: Iron is essential for proper neuronal functioning; however, excessive accumulation of brain iron is reported in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This indicates that dysregulated iron homeostasis is involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases. To determinate the effect of iron on oxidative stress and on cell survival pathways, such as AKT, ERK1/2 and DyrK1B, neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells were exposed to different concentration of FeCl2 (iron). We found that iron induced cell death in SH-SY5Y cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Detection of iNOS and 3-nitrotyrosine confirms the presence of increased nitrogen species. Furthermore, we found a decrease of catalase and protein arginine methyl-transferase 1 (PRMT1). Interestingly, iron increased the activity of ERK and AKT and reduced DyrK1B. Moreover, after FeCl2 treatment, the transcription factors c-Jun and pSmad1/5 were activated. These results indicate that the presence of high levels of iron increase the vulnerability of neurons to oxidative stress.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Here we evaluated the ability of l-theanine in preventing experimental hepatic cirrhosis and investigated the roles of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation as well as transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) regulation. Experimental hepatic cirrhosis was established by the administration of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) to rats (0.4 g/kg, intraperitoneally, three times per week, for 8 weeks), and at the same time, adding l-theanine (8.0 mg/kg) to the drinking water. Rats had ad libitum access to water and food throughout the treatment period. CCl4 treatment promoted NF-κB activation and increased the expression of both TGF-β and CTGF. CCl4 increased the serum activities of alanine aminotransferase and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and the degree of lipid peroxidation, and it also induced a decrease in the glutathione and glutathione disulfide ratio. l-Theanine prevented increased expression of NF-κB and down-regulated the pro-inflammatory (interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6) and profibrotic (TGF-β and CTGF) cytokines. Furthermore, the levels of messenger RNA encoding these proteins decreased in agreement with the expression levels. l-Theanine promoted the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and the fibrolytic enzyme metalloproteinase-13. Liver hydroxyproline contents and histopathological analysis demonstrated the anti-fibrotic effect of l-theanine. In conclusion, l-theanine prevents CCl4-induced experimental hepatic cirrhosis in rats by blocking the main pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrogenic signals. © The Author(s) 2015.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Human & Experimental Toxicology
  • Adolfo López-Ornelas · Paula Vergara · José Segovia
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    ABSTRACT: Background aims Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and lethal primary brain tumor and current treatments have not improved its prognosis. Therefore, new strategies and therapeutic agents should be investigated. Growth arrest specific-1 (Gas1) is a protein that induces cell arrest and apoptosis of gliomas and a soluble form, tGas1, increases these effects acting in both autocrine and paracrine manners. Moreover, neural stem cells (NSCs) can be used as a vehicle to transport therapeutic molecules because they have innate tropism towards tumors. Methods Lentiviral vectors were used to obtain NSCs capable of expressing tGas1 in a regulated manner. The ability of engineered NSCs to track and reach GBM in vivo, produce tGas1, and their efficacy decreasing tumor growth and increasing the overall health and survival time of nude mice implanted with GBM were assessed. Results The overexpression of tGas1 from NSCs decreased viability and induced cell arrest and apoptosis of GBM cells and also, albeit in a reduced manner, of NSCs themselves. NSCs migrate from one cerebral hemisphere to the contralateral, reach GBM, express the tGas1 transgene when induced by tetracycline and produce the protein. Tumor volume decreased by 77% compared with controls, and tGas1 improved the overall health and increased the survival time of mice implanted with GBM by 75%. Conclusions We demonstrated that tGas1 has an antineoplastic effect, and the results support the potential of tGas1 as an adjuvant for the treatment of gliomas.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Cytotherapy
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated the effects of curcumin treatment on protein oxidation (PO), lipid peroxidation (LP) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex (FC) of diabetic db/db mice (DM) and in sera of obese humans. Thus, DM were treated daily with 50 mg/kg of curcumin during an 8-week period. Obese human were treated daily with 500 and 750 mg of curcumin that was administered orally for 12 weeks; BDNF, PO and LP levels in sera were determined at in weeks 0, 2, 6 and 12 of treatment. BDNF levels decreased in hippocampus and FC of DM as compared with untreated wild-type mice. Curcumin improved or restored BDNF levels to normal levels in DM, but curcumin did not have any effect on BDNF levels in sera of obese humans. In hippocampus and FC of DM, hyperglycaemia and curcumin did not have effect on LP levels. Hyperglycaemia increased PO levels in hippocampus and FC, whereas curcumin decreased these levels in hippocampus but not in FC. In sera of obese humans, the 500-mg dose decreased LP levels in weeks 6 and 12 when compared with basal levels, but the 750-mg dose did not have any effect; both doses of curcumin decreased PO levels in weeks 2, 6 and 12 of treatment when compared with basal levels. Present results suggest a therapeutic potential of curcumin to decrease oxidation caused by obesity in humans and also show that curcumin restores BDNF levels in DM.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: Growth arrest specific 1 (GAS1) is a pleiotropic protein that induces apoptosis and cell arrest in different tumors, but it is also involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues and organs. This dual ability is likely caused by its capacity to interact both by inhibiting the intracellular signaling cascade induced by glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor and by facilitating the activity of the sonic hedgehog pathway. The presence of GAS1 mRNA has been described in adult mouse brain, and here we corroborated this observation. We then proceeded to determine the distribution of the protein in the adult central nervous system (CNS). We detected, by western blot analysis, expression of GAS1 in olfactory bulb, caudate-putamen, cerebral cortex, hippocampus, mesencephalon, medulla oblongata, cerebellum, and cervical spinal cord. To more carefully map the expression of GAS1, we performed double-label immunohistochemistry and noticed expression of GAS1 in neurons in all brain areas examined. We also observed expression of GAS1 in astroglial cells, albeit the pattern of expression was more restricted than that seen in neurons. Briefly, in the present article, we report the widespread distribution and cellular localization of the GAS1 native protein in adult mammalian CNS.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease, resulting from deterioration of the substantia nigra which in turn leads to a decrease of dopamine levels in the striatum. Clinically the syndrome is characterized by motor alterations that are treated by the oral administration of levodopa. However, this treatment typically loses efficacy over time and therefore new treatments that procure a steady long term supplement of dopamine are needed. Here we tested the expression of a tyrosine hydroxilase (TH) transgene in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) treated primates own astrocytes. The transgene, whose expression of TH cDNA was controlled by a glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter, was injected into MPTP treated primate's brains using liposomes as a delivery system. Monkeys were tested before and after MPTP administration, and after gene therapy treatment on the HALLWAY behavioral task. Results showed both transgene expression and significant behavioral improvements in the hallway task after the TH cDNA transfer. The behavioral recovery observed in the primates whose astrocytes expressed rat TH, is a first step that warrant further studies using primate's astrocytes as a good cell lineage to express therapeutic molecules.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Acta neurobiologiae experimentalis
  • Karla Sanchez · Paula Vergara · Jose Segovia · Jorge Pacheco

    No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Neurotoxicology and Teratology
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    ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. The most characteristic structural feature of this disease is neurodegeneration accompanied by gliosis in the striatum. BDNF has been proposed to protect striatal neurons from degeneration, because it is an important survival factor for these neurons from development to adulthood. Considering the extensive gliosis and the survival effects of BDNF, we constructed an adenovirus to express a BDNF cDNA in astrocyte cells using a promoter of the glial fibrillary acidic protein gene. Cells stably transfected in vitro with a BDNF cDNA driven by this promoter expressed BDNF and responded to external stimuli increasing BDNF production. When the vector was applied into the striata of mice transgenic for HD, long-term expression of the transgene was observed, associated with a delay of onset of the motor phenotype of the R6/2 HD transgenic mice. The present data indicate that the striatal expression of BDNF is a potential adjuvant for the treatment of HD.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
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    ABSTRACT: Previous clinical observations suggested that coffee may have beneficial effects on the liver. In fact, an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and liver cirrhosis has been reported in humans. However, the causative role of coffee has not been established; therefore, the aim of this work was to study the effect of coffee in an experimental model of liver damage. In this work, cirrhosis was induced by chronic CCl(4) administration and soluble or grain coffee (SC, GC, respectively) were co-administered for 8 weeks. CCl(4) administration elevated serum alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotranspherase, liver lipid peroxidation, collagen content (fourfold) and TGF-β mRNA, and protein levels; depleted liver glycogen and reduced glutathione (GSH) content. Coffee prevented most of the changes produced by CCl(4). Histopathological analysis was in agreement with biochemical and molecular data. The best effect was produced by GC. It is worth noting that GC preserved the normal collagen content as well as the normal TGF-β mRNA and protein levels. Our results suggest (1) that coffee plays a causative role in preventing cirrhosis (at least experimental cirrhosis); (2) that action mechanisms are probably associated with down regulation of the profibrogenic cytokine TGF-β and to its antioxidant properties and, (3) that GC is more potent than SC. These findings suggest a beneficial effect of coffee on the liver. However, more clinical and basic studies must be performed before reaching a final recommendation.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Hepatology International

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Biotecnologia Aplicada
  • R. García · N. Pavoń · P. Vergara · J. Segovia · E. Alberti
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    ABSTRACT: Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) are multipotent stem cells and are considered good candidates for cell restoration in injured brain tissue. The aim of this study is to learn if rat BMSC express brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glia-derived nerve factor (GDNF) and determine if this expression varies according to the number of culture passages. The presence of BDNF and GDNF mRNA was determined by RT-PCR and protein expression was evaluated by Western Blot. GDNF production in individual cells in the culture was analyzed by Immunocytochemistry. Our results indicated that rat BMSC produce BDNF, at least until passage number 12. Nevertheless, GDNF production only takes place at passages 7 and 12. In conclusion, the expression of BDNF and GDNF by BMSC varies according to their mature state; both neurotrophic factors only are present after passage 7 which should be taken into account for their utilization as a therapeutic option of neurodegenerative diseases.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Biotecnologia Aplicada
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    ABSTRACT: Gliomas are the most frequent primary tumors of the central nervous system, and their clinical prognosis remains very poor. Because of the characteristics of gliomas, gene therapy appears as a potentially relevant strategy for their treatment. However, the inability of viral vectors to transfer the therapeutic genes to a significantly high number of tumor cells, due to their limited diffusion and distribution, remains a critical obstacle for their application treating gliomas. We have demonstrated that the overexpression of growth arrest specific1 (Gas1) induces cell arrest and apoptosis and eliminates glioma cells in vitro and when implanted in mice. To improve the therapeutic range of Gas1, we generated lentiviral vectors coding for a soluble form of Gas1. Here, we show that cells infected with this virus produce the mutant protein, that acting both in autocrine and paracrine manners, causes death of infected and neighbor cells, thus importantly enhancing the effect of Gas1. Furthermore, the administration of this vector, or cells expressing it, inhibit the growth of tumors inoculated in mice. We present a gene therapy strategy that increases the effect of the therapeutic molecule by eliminating not just the infected cells that express Gas1, but neighbor non-infected cells.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Cancer gene therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) plays a pivotal role in liver fibrosis, because it activates hepatic stellate cells, stimulating extracellular matrix deposition. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) has been associated with TGF-beta because its inhibition decreases TGF-beta expression and collagen production in some cultured cell types. The aim of this work was to evaluate the ability of celecoxib (a selective COX-2 inhibitor) to prevent and to reverse the liver fibrosis induced by CCl(4). We established experimental groups of rats including vehicle and drug controls, damage induced by chronic CCl(4) administration and CCl(4) plus pharmacological treatment in both prevention and reversion models. We determined: alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, COX and metalloproteinase-2 and -9 activities, lipid peroxidation, glutathione levels, glycogen and collagen content and TGF-beta expression. Celecoxib prevented and aided to the recovery of livers with necrotic and cholestatic damage. Celecoxib exhibited anti-oxidant properties by restoring the redox equilibrium (lipid peroxidation and glutathione levels). Glycogen was decreased by CCl(4), while celecoxib partially prevented and reversed this effect. Celecoxib inhibited COX-2 activity, decreased TGF-beta expression, induced metalloproteinase-2 activity and, consequently, prevented and reversed collagen accumulation. Our findings indicate that celecoxib exerts strong antifibrogenic and fibrolytic effects in the CCl(4) model of cirrhosis.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver
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    ABSTRACT: Interference with nitric oxide production is a possible mechanism for lead neurotoxicity. In this work, we studied the effects of sub-acute lead administration on the distribution of NOS isoforms in the hippocampus with respect to blood and hippocampal lead levels. Lead acetate (125, 250 and 500ppm) was given via drinking water to adult male Wistar rats for 14 days. We determined blood and hippocampal lead levels by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Antibodies against three isoforms of NOS were used to analyze expression and immunolocalization using western blotting and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Blood and hippocampal lead levels were increased in a dose-dependent manner in groups treated with lead acetate. We found diminished expression and immunoreactivity of nNOS and eNOS at 500ppm as compared to the control group. No expression and immunoreactivity was observed in hippocampus for iNOS. The observed high levels of lead in the blood reflect free physiological access to this metal to the organism and were related to diminished expression and immunoreactivity for nNOS and eNOS.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Experimental and toxicologic pathology: official journal of the Gesellschaft fur Toxikologische Pathologie
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    ABSTRACT: Growth arrest specific1 (Gas1) is a protein expressed during development and when cells arrest their growth. The potential of Gas1 as an adjuvant in the treatment of cancer, and its role as a tumor suppressor have also been proposed. In this work we are addressing the molecular mechanisms by which Gas1 induces cell arrest and apoptosis of cancer cells, using primary cultures of human gliomas as a model. We had previously demonstrated the structural relationship between Gas1 and the alpha receptors for the Glial-cell line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) family of ligands, and showed that Gas1 acts by inhibiting the intracellular signaling induced by GDNF. There are also reports indicating that Gas1 positively cooperates with Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) during embryonic development and in this paper we analyzed the potential interactions between Gas1 and Shh. We show that human gliomas do not express Shh, whereas GDNF and the molecular components necessary to transduce its signaling are present in human gliomas. Furthermore, the over-expression of Gas1 induces cell arrest, apoptosis and prevents the activation of Akt, a crucial mediator of survival and cellular proliferation pathways. In the present work, we present evidence demonstrating that Gas1 exerts its effects inhibiting cell growth and inducing apoptosis of glioma cells in the absence of Shh.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · International journal of developmental neuroscience: the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant, a precursor of reduced glutathione, and an inhibitor of the profibrotic cytokine liver transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) cirrhosis is characterized by oxidative stress and fibrosis. Therefore, the aim of this work was to study the effect of NAC on experimental cirrhosis. CCl4 was chronically administered for 8 weeks along with 300 mg/kg of NAC orally once a day. Alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase were measured in plasma. Hydroxyproline, glycogen, lipid peroxidation, glutathione were determined in liver samples by colorimetric methods. TGF-beta was evaluated by western blotting, and a histopathological analysis was performed. Serum markers of liver damage increased by CCl4 intoxication (P<0.05), whereas cotreatment with NAC prevented these increases (P<0.05); glycogen was depleted in the cirrhotic group (P<0.05), but preserved by NAC (P<0.05). Lipid peroxidation increased and glutathione decreased by the administration of CCl4 (P<0.05), again NAC prevented both effects (P<0.05). Importantly, collagen increased by about seven-fold in the CCl4 group (P<0.05); administration of NAC preserved the normal levels of collagen (P<0.05). Biochemical determinations were corroborated by hematoxylin and eosin, and trichromic stains. Western blots revealed a four-fold increase in TGF-beta in the group receiving CCl4, NAC cotreatment abolished TGF-beta signal (P<0.05). Our results strongly suggest that NAC prevents experimental cirrhosis by two mechanisms: by preventing oxidative stress and by downregulating the profibrogenic cytokine TGF-beta. As NAC is currently used in humans intoxicated with paracetamol, it can be tested in fibrotic or cirrhotic patients under controlled trials.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2009 · European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular studies have revealed the presence of R-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels at pre- and postsynaptic regions; however, no evidence for the participation of these channels in transmitter release has been presented for the spinal cord. Here we characterize the effects of SNX-482, a selective R channel blocker, on the monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) evoked in motoneurons by stimulation of dorsolateral funiculus (DLF) terminals in a slice preparation from the adult turtle spinal cord. SNX-482 inhibited neurotransmission in a dose-dependent manner, with an IC(50) of approximately 9 +/- 1 nM. The EPSP time course and membrane time constant of the motoneurons were not altered, suggesting a presynaptic mechanism. The toxin inhibited the residual component of the EPSPs recorded in the presence of N- and P/Q-type Ca(2+) channel blockers, strongly suggesting a role for the R channels in neurotransmission at the spinal cord DLF terminals. Consistently with this, RT-PCR analysis of turtle spinal cord segments revealed the expression of the Ca(V)2.3 pore-forming (alpha(1E)) subunit of R channels, whereas the use of anti-alpha(1E)-specific antibodies resulted in its localization in the DLF fibers as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry coupled with laser confocal microscopy.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2008 · Journal of Hepatology
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    ABSTRACT: Liver fibrosis is characterized by an excess of collagen fiber deposition, and it is known that Kupffer cells play an important role by immunomodulation of the toxic response. Methyl palmitate (MP) is an effective Kupffer cell inhibitor. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of MP on experimental liver fibrosis. Four groups were formed: the control group, which received the vehicles only; CCl(4) group (0.4 g kg(-1), i.p., three times a week, for eight weeks); CCl(4) plus MP (300 mg kg(-1), i.p., daily); and MP alone. Alanine aminotransferase was increased by CCl(4), and MP did not prevent this increase. Lipid peroxidation was increased markedly by CCl(4); again, MP was not able to prevent this effect. Fibrosis increased nearly 6-fold (measured as liver hydroxyproline content) in the CCl(4) group; MP preserved the normal content of collagen. These results were corroborated by histopathology. To elucidate the antifibrogenic mechanism of MP, we measured the production of TGF-beta; CCl(4) increased this cytokine several-fold, and MP abolished this increase. Collectively the present results indicate that MP possesses a strong antifibrogenic effect at least in the CCl(4) model of fibrosis. The antifibrotic effect of MP is probably associated with its ability to reduce TGF-beta content, maybe by immunomodulation of Kupffer cells functioning.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2008 · Journal of Applied Toxicology
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    ABSTRACT: Cirrhosis is a very common disease and its treatment is limited due to lack of effective drugs. Some studies indicate that this disease is associated with oxidative stress. Therefore, we decided to study the effect of trolox, an effective antioxidant, on experimental cirrhosis. Cirrhosis was induced by CCl4 administration (0.4 g/kg, intraperitoneally, three times per week, for 8 weeks) to Wistar male rats. Trolox was administered daily (50 mg/kg, orally). Fibrosis was assessed histologically and by measuring liver hydroxyproline content. Glutathione, lipid peroxidation and glycogen were measured in liver; serum markers of liver damage were also quantified. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) was determined by Western blot and quantified densitometrically. Alkaline phosphatase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and alanine aminotransferase increased in the group receiving CCl4; trolox completely or partially prevented these alterations. Glycogen was almost depleted by CCl4 but was partially preserved by trolox. Lipid peroxidation increased while glutathione decreased by CCl4 administration; trolox corrected both effects. Histology showed thick bands of collagen, necrosis and distortion of the hepatic parenchyma in the CCl4 group, such effects were prevented by trolox. Hydroxyproline content increased 5-fold by CCl4, while the group receiving both CCl4 and trolox showed no significant difference compared to the control group. CCl4 increased 3-fold TGF-beta, while trolox completely prevented this increase. We found that trolox effectively prevented cirrhosis induced with CCl4 in the rat. Our results suggest that the beneficial effects of trolox may be associated to its antioxidant properties and to its ability to reduce the profibrogenic cytokine TGF-beta expression.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2008 · Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology

Publication Stats

800 Citations
106.69 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1998-2011
    • National Polytechnic Institute
      • Departamento de Fisiología
      Ciudad de México, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 2009
    • Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute
      • Departamento de Física
      Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  • 2008
    • Autonomous University of Hidalgo
      Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico