Department of Experimental Neuroendocrinology

Scope of research:

  • effects of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs on endocrinological and immunological systems;
  • effects of antidepressants on the immune response;
  • effects of antidepressants on tumor growth;
  • estrogen interactions with internal and external apoptotic pathways;
  • impact of estrogens and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) on excitatory amino acid-, proinflammatory cytokine-, and dioxin-induced neuronal cell damage;
  • intracellular mechanisms of apoptotic processes in neuronal cells;
  • molecular interaction of antidepressants and drugs of abuse with corticosteroid receptors;
  • molecular interactions of psychotropic drugs with glucocorticoid receptors and the corticotropin-releasing hormone gene;
  • role of thyrotropin-releasing hormone and steroids in excitotoxicity, seizures and apoptosis;
  • apoptotic effects of dioxins and AhR in neuronal cells;
  • neuroprotective action of phytoestrogens in neurodevelopmental models of hypoxia and excitotoxicity;
  • effects of endocrine disruptors on neuronal development;
  • influence of antidepressants on apoptotic processes;
  • effect of metabotropic glutamatergic group II and III ligands on neuronal apoptosis



- excitatory amino acid-induced seizures;
- LPS-induced depression-like and schizophrenia-like syndromes in animals;
- prenatal restraint stress in the rat - animal model of depression.

- experimental skin transplantation;
- splenectomy; adrenalectomy; ovariectomy;
- induction of a systemic or a regional graft-versus-host reaction;
- stereotaxic brain surgery.

- primary neuronal cell cultures (striatal, neocortical, hippocampal, cerebellar cells);
- cell line cultures (PC12, neuro-2A, NG108-15, SH-SY5Y, SK-N-SH);
- immune cell cultures;
- transient and stable transfection of adherent mammalian cells;
- assay of reporter gene activity in transfected cell extracts;
- lactate dehydrogenase assay;
- MAP-2 and GFAP immunostainings;
- assessment of the mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity;
- caspase-3 activity assay;
- DNA-laddering;
- calcein/ethidium homodimer-1 test;
- nitrite assay;
- estimation of the metabolic activity of macrophages;
- Hoechst 33342 and calcein AM double staining;
- measurement of neurotransmitter uptake;
- determination of neurotransmitter release in vitro;
- electrophoresis of proteins and the Western blot analysis;
- radioligand receptor binding techniques;
- assay of protein kinases;
- in situ hybridization analysis of mRNA;
- receptor autoradiography;
- siRNA gene silencing;
- double immunostainings.

International cooperation:

- the Institute of Cognition and Information of the Nijmegen University (the Netherlands) -- involvement of steroids in the regulation of epileptic activity in WAG/Rij rats;

- the Institute of Neurobiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Bulgaria) - ROS in the effects of anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant drugs;

- the Clinical Research Centre for Mental Health in Antwerp (Belgium) - examination of the effect of antidepressants and serotonin receptors ligands on cytokine production by human immunocytes;

- the University of Basque Country in Bilbao (Spain) - the effect of antidepressant drugs on tumor growth;

- the Institute of Neuroanatomy, RWTH Aachen – University Clinic (Germany) - studies on the interaction between estrogens and cytokines in neurodegenerative processes.

More publications

  • Application of dental pulp stem cells in neural tissue regeneration


  • Synthesis, crystal structure and selected properties of a group of new peroxomolybdates

    Adrianna Sławińska, Paweł Serda, Katarzyna Pamin, Jan Połtowicz, Wiesław Łasocha

    Polyhedron, Volume 121 (2017) 191-198

  • In search of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of hypoxia-ischemia-induced brain damages. An article in Polish.

    NAUKA, 2016, 3:55-73. Kajta M, Rzemieniec J, Rużyłło W.


  • How hormonally active environmental contaminants affect the brain? An article in Polish. Wszechświat, 2012, 113:10-13. Kajta M.
  • Molecular mechanisms of estrogen action in the central nervous system. An article in Polish. Chapter in the script: Cellular signaling pathways. Edited by I. Nalepa. XXI Zimowa Szkoła Instytutu Farmakologii PAN. Mogilany, 2004, 61-69. Kajta M.
  • Neuronal cell cultures. An article in Polish. Chapter XVII in the book: Cell and Tissue Cultures. Edited by S. Stokłosowa. PWN, Warszawa, 2004, 277-290. Kajta M.
  • In search of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of hypoxia-ischemia-induced brain damages. An article in Polish. NAUKA, 2016, 3:55-73. Kajta M, Rzemieniec J, Rużyłło W.

More publications
  • Searching for effective strategies to protect neuronal cells against hypoxia and ischemia: Identification of neuroprotective mechanisms of the new ligands of AhR and PPARg in experimental models of stroke, Professor Małgorzata Kajta, PhD
    NCN OPUS Grant; 2018/31/B/NZ7/01815; 2019-2022. Ongoing.Principal Investigator of the project: Małgorzata Kajta
  • , Katarzyna Głombik, PhD

  • Neurodevelopmental pathomechanisms of triclocarban-, and Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE)-induced effects: the roles of apoptosis and autophagy as well as the receptor signaling for estrogens, aryl hydrocarbons and androstane. , Professor Małgorzata Kajta, PhD
    NCN OPUS Grant; 2015/19/B/NZ7/02449; 2016-2019.
    Principal Investigator of the project: Małgorzata Kajta

  • The role of the inflammasome NLRP3 in the mechanisms of antidepressant drugs action - studies in the animal model of depression, Ewa Trojan, PhD
    The aim of the project is to determine whether the enhanced inflammatory activation of microglia cells from animals subjected to a model of depression is connected with disturbances of the amount and function of NLRP3 complexes. The studies will be conducted in vivo in 3 months old males, offspring of control and stressed dams before and after chronic, 14-day administration of antidepressant drugs with different mechanism of action. Simultaneously, the studies will be conducted in vitro on primary microglial cultures derived from the cerebral cortex of 1-2-day-old Sprague-Dawley rats from the control group and from an animal model of depression both under basal conditions and after an additional activation by the bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS).  
  • PRLEUDIUM 7: Molecular mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs in the in vitro model of contact allergy in the human cell line HaCat and mouse dendritic precursor JAWSII cells, Katarzyna Curzytek, PhD
    The aim of the project is to determine the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs with different profiles of action engaged in the inhibition of contact hypersensitivity response in two cell lines: the human keratinocyte HaCaT and the mouse dendritic precursor JAWSII. Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine and desipramine proved effective in suppressing contact hypersensitivity (classical example of cell-mediated immune response) in a murine model of contact hypersensitivity. The used antidepressants not only strongly inhibit contact sensitization, but also have shown immunomodulatory effects, but their molecular mechanism of action in inhibition of contact allergy, remains unknown. It is postulated that the use of cellular model for the study of the efficacy of antidepressant drugs in reducing inflammatory response, will contribute to broadening of our knowledge of the intracellular mechanisms of action of these drugs. 
  • Neurotoxic effects of benzophenone-3 : the role of estrogen receptors and retinoid X receptor alpha., Agnieszka Wnuk, PhD
    NCN PRELUDIUM Grant; 2014/13/N/NZ4/04845; 2015-2018Principal Investigator of the project: Agnieszka Wnuk, PhDThe Scientific Supervisor of the project: Małgorzata Kajta, PhD
  • The impact of maternal diabetes on inflammasome NLRP3 activation in the offspring brain, Katarzyna Głombik, PhD
    The aim of the project is to determine potential functional changes in the inflammasome NLRP3, considered to be a sensor of metabolic changes in offspring of dams with experimentally induced  diabetes using organotypic cultures of the hippocampus. It is known that fetal exposure to maternal diabetes can activate inflammatory processes and can increase many times a risk of type 2 diabetes in the offspring. However, the mechanism of these disturbances remains unknown. The most recent reports suggest the role of changes in the inflammasome NLPR3 complex in this mechanism which can lead to aggravation of inflammatory processes and disturbances in glucose metabolism or resistance to insulin, thus predisposing offspring to development of type 2 diabetes. Sparse for now studies underlined the significance of disturbances in homeostasis due to pathological factors, like maternal diabetes, for instance, in the modulation of central nervous system function both in young and adult offspring. The studies within this research project will answer the question whether the function of the inflammasome NLRP3 is disturbed in the hippocampus of young offspring of diabetic dams. Thus, they will elucidate causes of the changed inflammatory activation, which can lead to an increased susceptibility to metabolic disturbances of the brain and type 2 diabetes in adulthood. What is more, they can help to discover a new target for anti-diabetic drugs with anti-inflammatory potential and can contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of their action.
  • , Katarzyna Głombik, PhD
  • The influence of glucagon-like peptie-1 receptor agaonists on regulation of coticotropin-releasing hormone gene promoter activity UMO-2012/07/N/NZ7/04394, Jan Detka, PhD
    The aim of the project is to determine the effect of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists, used to treat type 2 diabetes on the regulation of corticoliberin (CRH) gene expression. Many reports have indicated a distinct role of GLP-1 as a brain modulator of neuroendocrine processes, emphasizing its implication in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation. Considering that chronic HPA axis activation is thought to be an important factor in the pathogenesis of depression which can also stimulate type 2 diabetes development in some depressed patients, it is necessary to better understand GLP-1 involvement in hormonal regulation in the organism and its action in the hypothalamus. Numerous papers suggest GLP-1 involvement in the activation of hypothalamic paraventricular neurons and most recent reports indicate its influence on CRH expression in transiently transfected neuronal cell line. However, so far the effect of GLP-1 on CRH gene expression was not studied in terms protein kinase A activation (main pathway of CRH activation in stress) or attenuation of CRH gene activity by glucocorticoids. It is also undetermined if the potential effect of GLP-1 in the hypothalamus depends on insulin, as well as nobody studied the cellular mechanisms, involved in the following processes.
  • The study on the role of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 8 (mGluR8) in cancer cells - potential target for new anticancer drugs., Danuta Jantas, PhD
    Grant NCN OPUS 3 2012/05/B/NZ3/00452; Principial Investigator
  • PRELUDIUM 3: The role of glucocorticoids in the regulation of neurodegenerative process (2013-2016), Anna Kurek, PhD
    Glucocorticoids can produce either protective or neurodegenerative effects, depending on the concentration and duration of action. Experimental data have indicated that long-lastingly increased glucocorticoid level can contribute to neurodegenerative changes observed in depression and after cerebral stroke. However, in opposite to in vivo studies, in a majority of in vitro experiments, neurotoxic action of glucocorticoids was observed only after application of their very high doses. Since in vivo investigations have demonstrated that glucocorticoids influence many types of nervous system cells (neurons, astrocytes, microglia), it appears that the lack of junctions between different cells can be one of causes of their weak cytotoxic effect in in vitro studies, conducted most often in neuronal cultures. Moreover, in a few studies on organotypic cultures carried out so far, the cultures were initiated from tissues collected from control animals while HPA axis activity and strength of glucocorticoid action in adults largely depends on factors acting in perinatal period. The aim of the proposed experiments is to examine a potential, cytotoxic action of corticosterone and its interaction with glutamate in organptypic cultures of the hippocampus obtained from the prenatally stress-exposed animals.We assume that prenatal stress which changes expression of many factors affecting the function of glucocorticoid and NMDA receptors and glutamate level will alter also the effect of corticosterone on neurodegenerative/neuroprotective processes in the hippocampus. Determination of the effect and mechanism of action of corticosterone added to culture medium on markers of cell damage in organotypic cultures of hippocampi from control and prenatally stressed animals (an animal model of depression) will allow for answering the question whether the changes triggered by prenatally elevated glucocorticoids will sensitize the tissue to damaging factors acting in adulthood.
  • Impact of endocrine-disrupting compound - 4-para-nonylphenol – on toxic effects mediated by xenobiotic receptors PXR and CAR during neural development in vitro and in vivo. , Professor Małgorzata Kajta, PhD
    NCN PRELUDIUM Grant; 2011/01/N/NZ4/04950; 2011-2014. Principal Investigator of the project: Ewa Litwa The scientific supervisor of the project: Małgorzata Kajta
  • Impact of selective modulators of estrogen receptors and aryl hydrocarbon receptor on hypoxia/ischemia-induced apoptosis of neuronal cells, Joanna Rzemieniec, PhD
    NCN PRELUDIUM Grant; 2011/01/N/NZ3/04786; 2011-2014.Principal Investigator: Joanna Rzemieniec
    The scientific supervisor of the project: Małgorzata Kajta
  • The study on the neuroprotective potential of metabotropic glutamate group II and III receptors in in vitro and in vivo apoptosis models., Danuta Jantas, PhD
    Grant KBN nr N N405 611638; Principial Investigator
  • Neuroprotective capacities of phytoestrogens in neurodevelopmental models of hypoxia and excitotoxicity. , Professor Małgorzata Kajta, PhD
    MNiSW Grant; N N401 572138; 2010-2013. Principal Investigator of the project: Małgorzata Kajta
  • Scholarship of the Minister of Science and Higher Education for outstanding young scientists, Katarzyna Głombik, PhD
    Monday, 15 June 2020
  • FENS Grant and Voucher Programme grant for participating in the FENS 2020 Virtual Forum, 11-15.07.2020, Katarzyna Chamera, MSc
    Friday, 15 May 2020
  • The best work in the Pharmacy and Pharmacology session during the 10th National Conference on Advence in Biomedical Research in Warsaw, Natalia Bryniarska, MSc
    Saturday, 30 November 2019
  • The main prize of Professor Kazimierz Ostrowski for the best work presented during the 10th National Conference on Advences in Biomedical Research in Warsaw, Natalia Bryniarska, MSc
    Saturday, 30 November 2019
  • Neuron of The Audience: Best Poster on 9th Annual Conference Aspects of Neuroscience in Warsaw, Natalia Bryniarska, MSc
    Sunday, 24 November 2019
  • Scholarship for the best PhD students at the Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences (2019/2020), Natalia Bryniarska, MSc
    Thursday, 7 November 2019
  • 3rd place in the competition for a popular science article for young scientists of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Natalia Bryniarska, MSc
    Friday, 27 September 2019
  • The doctoral scholarship (ETIUDA 7) financed by the National Science Centre, Poland, Katarzyna Chamera, MSc
    Wednesday, 31 July 2019
  • The travel grant award for the 2019 ISN-ASN Meeting, Montreal, Canada, 4-8.08.2019, Katarzyna Chamera, MSc
    Tuesday, 26 March 2019
  • The travel grant award from NAWA's PROM project for the XIV European Meeting on Glial Cells in Health and Disease, Porto, Portugal, 10-13.07.2019, Katarzyna Chamera, MSc
    Tuesday, 29 January 2019
  • , Ewa Trojan, PhD
    Tuesday, 29 January 2019
  • , Katarzyna Głombik, PhD
    Thursday, 20 December 2018
  • 1st place for the best presentation of the E-poster: "The use of mesenchymal stem cells in the regeneration of nervous tissue after stroke - OGD model" during the 9th National Conference - Advances in Biomedical Research , Natalia Bryniarska, MSc
    Sunday, 2 December 2018
  • The scholarship for the best PhD Students at the Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Science, Kraków, Poland (2018/2019), Katarzyna Chamera, MSc
    Tuesday, 27 November 2018
  • Scholarship for the best PhD students at the Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences (2018/2019), Natalia Bryniarska, MSc
    Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Professor Władysław Lasoń, PhD

Phone number: +48 12 6623296