Molecular neurophysiology

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The principal aim of the research conducted in our laboratory is to identify and further clarify cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate and/or regulate fast and slow synaptic transmission in the brain.

More precisely, our research activities focus on the mechanisms by which afferent inputs and specific neurotransmitter receptors modulate the activity of the different neuronal populations that constitute the basal ganglia and influence their ability to process and integrate incoming information.


We use electrophysiological (whole-cell patch clamp and field potentials recordings) and electrochemical (amperometric detection of dopamine release) approaches in rodent brain slices combined with pharmacological and molecular tools.

Group members

Karima CherguiSenior lecturer
Mona NouhiPhD student
Giacomo SitziaR&D trainee
Olga SkitevaPostdoc
Ning YaoAssociated

and at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet 

Xiaoqun Zhang Post doc


Targeting NMDA receptor dysfunctions in Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease. It is characterized by severe movement disturbances and is due to a dysfunction of the basal ganglia circuitry as a result of degeneration of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra. Because glutamatergic neurotransmission is altered in Parkinson's disease, the NMDA type of glutamate receptor and the subunits that compose these receptors are considered attractive drug targets for therapeutic intervention in the disease. Our research aims to determine whether the subunit composition of functional NMDA receptors is altered in different nuclei of the basal ganglia, with a focus on the striatum, in mouse models of Parkinson's disease. The knowledge gained will ultimately provide a better understanding of the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease and identify novel drug targets.

Recent selected publications

Dopamine depletion of the striatum causes a cell-type specific reorganization of GluN2B- and GluN2D-containing NMDA receptors.
Zhang X, Chergui K
Neuropharmacology 2015 May;92():108-15

Induction of cannabinoid- and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated long-term depression in the nucleus accumbens and dorsolateral striatum is region and age dependent.
Zhang X, Feng Z, Chergui K
Int. J. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Jan;18(4):

Allosteric modulation of GluN2C/GluN2D-containing NMDA receptors bidirectionally modulates dopamine release: implication for Parkinson's disease.
Zhang X, Feng Z, Chergui K
Br. J. Pharmacol. 2014 Aug;171(16):3938-45

Allosteric modulation of NMDA receptors alters neurotransmission in the striatum of a mouse model of Parkinson's disease.
Feng Z, Zhang X, Chergui K
Exp. Neurol. 2014 May;255():154-60

GluN2D-containing NMDA receptors inhibit neurotransmission in the mouse striatum through a cholinergic mechanism: implication for Parkinson's disease.
Zhang X, Feng Z, Chergui K
J. Neurochem. 2014 May;129(4):581-90

Contact us

Senior lecturer

Karima Chergui

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 869 53
Organizational unit: Chergui Karima group - Molecular Neurophysiology