Hökfelt Laboratory

Research focus

Chemical Neurotransmission Research

Our research is focused on chemical messengers in the nervous and endocrine systems, mainly based on histochemical techniques: immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridiza­tion. We also use molecular biological approaches including RT-PCR and have created some transgenic animals.

We are interested in the concept that a neuron produces and re­leases more than one transmitter substance. In particular, our work has focused on the role of neuropeptides in the central and peripheral nervous system, including substance P, cholecystokinin (CCK), galanin and neuropeptide Y (NPY), four peptides that have been discovered by scientists at Karolinska Institutet. These peptides often have a modulating role, exerting their effects via 7-transmembrane, G-protein-coupled receptors. The peptide systems are involved in numerous functions, for example control of food intake, as well as in various diseases such as obesity, anorexia nervosa, pain and depression.

We are now particularly interested in studying human tissues to validate hypotheses based on rodent experiments with the aim to understand mechanisms underlying pain and depression and to develop novel strategies for treatment of these disorders .

Selected publications

Critical role of somatostatin receptor 2 in the vulnerability of the central noradrenergic system: new aspects on Alzheimer's disease.
Ádori C, Glück L, Barde S, Yoshitake T, Kovacs G, Mulder J, et al
Acta Neuropathol. 2015 Apr;129(4):541-63

Narcolepsy patients have antibodies that stain distinct cell populations in rat brain and influence sleep patterns.
Bergman P, Adori C, Vas S, Kai-Larsen Y, Sarkanen T, Cederlund A, et al
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2014 Sep;111(35):E3735-44

Neuronal calcium-binding proteins 1/2 localize to dorsal root ganglia and excitatory spinal neurons and are regulated by nerve injury.
Zhang M, Tortoriello G, Hsueh B, Tomer R, Ye L, Mitsios N, et al
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2014 Mar;111(12):E1149-58

Brain galanin system genes interact with life stresses in depression-related phenotypes.
Juhasz G, Hullam G, Eszlari N, Gonda X, Antal P, Anderson I, et al
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2014 Apr;111(16):E1666-73

Distinct features of neurotransmitter systems in the human brain with focus on the galanin system in locus coeruleus and dorsal raphe.
Le Maître E, Barde S, Palkovits M, Diaz-Heijtz R, Hökfelt T
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2013 Feb;110(6):E536-45

Group members

Agnieszka Limiszewska - Research assistant

Blanca Silva Lopez - Biomedical scientist

Csaba Adori - Senior researcher

Jaekyung Shin - Postdoc

Jan Mulder - Senior researcher

Karin Lagerman - Administrator

Lora Deuitch - PhD student

Nicholas Mitsios - Senior lab manager

Swapnali Barde - PhD student

Tomas Hökfelt - Professor

Tony Jimenez-Beristain - Biomedical scientist

Zhi-Qing Xu - Senior researcher