Neural Cell Biology and Optical Tissue Clearing

Contact person: Dra. María Victoria Gómez Gaviro

This line of research is focused on the cellular mechanisms of disease, mainly on the regulation of neural stem cells (NSC), neurogenesis and the neural stem cell niche. We are interested in the paracrine regulation of NSC behavior and, specifically, in vascular trophic factors, such as betacellulin, that can induce NSC proliferation and neurogenesis.
We are using these scientific advances to explore new therapies for the treatment of stroke, which is a  leading cause of death and disability worldwide. We have established the surgical MCAo model (middle cerebral artery occlusion) in rat and mouse, which mimics the human ischemic stroke. The complete repertoire of non-invasive imaging techniques available in our lab, such as MRI and PET, enables the  study of the effect of different treatments including drugs, cells or growth factors on the damaged brain in vivo.

We have set up and optimized in our lab new technologies for 3D visualization of specific proteins in tissues. Tissue clearing techniques combined with light sheet microscopy enables 3D imaging of different organs and tissues. CUBIC (Clear, Unobstructed Brain/Body Imaging Cocktails and Computational analysis) is a novel technique to make organs and tissues transparent. We have set this technology up in our lab and it is now being applied to different organs (brain, heart, lung, intestine, etc.) from different animal species (mouse, chicken embryo, fly). Human samples have been cleared in our lab and stained with this technology to obtain a 3D imagine that is impossible to get with standard technology.

This method is compatible with immunohistochemistry and endogenous proteins in whole organs and large pieces of tissue.

With this technology we can visualize neurons in a whole brain, neuronal processes and connections, heart microvasculture and other cell types and we can carry out morphometric studies.

Articulos Seleccionados

  • Rafael J. Jiménez Riobóo, Manuel Desco, and María Victoria Gómez-Gaviro. Impact of optical tissue clearing on the Brillouin signal from biological tissue samples. Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 10, Nº 6 pp. 2674-268, 2019,

  • Bello-Arroyo E, Duarte H, Ambrosio E, Caiolfa VR, Manuel Desco, Lara-Pezzi E and GOMEZ-GAVIRO MV*. MouBeAT: a new open and automated toolbox for the analysis of behavioral tests in mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience  doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00201
  • MARIA VICTORIA GÓMEZ-GAVIRO and Manuel Desco.  The paracrine stem cell niche: new actors in the play. Current stem cells reports, pp (1-6), 2018, doi: 10.1007/s40778-018-0112-1
  • Imke Nehrhoff, Jorge Ripoll, Rafael Samaniego, Manuel Desco and MARIA VICTORIA GÓMEZ-GAVIRO. Looking inside the heart: a see-through view of the vascular tree. BIOMEDICAL OPTICS EXPRESS Vol. 8, No. 6 | 1 Jun 2017 |
  •  -MARÍA VICTORIA GÓMEZ-GAVIRO*, Evan Balaban, Diana Bocancea, María Teresa Lorrio, María Pompeiano, Manuel Desco, Jorge Ripoll, and Juan José Vaquero Optimized CUBIC protocol for 3D imaging of chicken embryos at single-cell resolution. Development.  2017 Apr 21. pii: dev.145805. doi: 10.1242/dev.145805.
  • Michele Cioffi, Sara M. Trabulo, Mireia Vallespinos-Serrano, Jaimy Saif, Ultan P. Cronin, Manuel Perez, Joaquim Soriano, Deepak Raj, Manuel Desco, MARIA VICTORIA GOMEZ-GAVIRO, Lorena Cusso, Diego Megias, Alexandra Aicher*, Christopher Heeschen. The miR-25-93-106b cluster regulates SDF-1 and PD-L1 expression in response to tissue injury. Oncotarget. 2017, Mar 28;8(13):21609-21625. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.15450.
  • Lara-Pezzi E, Desco M, Gatto A, Gómez-Gaviro MV*. Neurogenesis: Regulation by Alternative Splicing and Related Posttranscriptional Processes. Neuroscientist. 2016 Nov 10. pii: 1073858416678604.
  • Imke Nehrhoff, Diana Bocancea, Javier Vaquero, Juan José Vaquero, Jorge Ripoll, Manuel Desco and María Victoria Gómez-Gaviro. 3D imaging in CUBIC-cleared mouse heart tissue: going deeper. Vol. 7, No. 9 | 1 Sep 2016 | BIOMEDICAL OPTICS EXPRESS 3716
  • I Nehrhoff, D Bocancea, J Vaquero, JJ Vaquero, MT Lorrio, J Ripoll, M Desco and MV GÓMEZ-GAVIRO. 3D confocal imaging in CUBIC-cleared mouse heart. Libro de Actas XXXIV CASEIB 2016, pag (118-121).
  • B. Zufiria D.I. Bocancea, M.V. Gómez-Gaviro, J.J. Vaquero, M. Desco, M. Fresno, J. Ripoll and A. Arranz. 3D imaging of the cleared intact murine colon with light sheet microscopy. Proc. of SPIE Vol. 9713 97130Q-2, 2016.
  • D. Bocancea, M.V.Gómez-Gaviro, E.Balaban, M.Desco, J. Ripoll, J.J. Vaquero. High Resolution 3D Microscopy of Developmental Neurogenesis in Chick Embryo Models. XXXIII CASEIB, LIBRO DE ACTAS 495-8. Nov. 2015.
    D. Bocancea1, 2, M.V.Gómez-Gaviro1, 2, E.Balaban3, M.Desco1, 2, J. Ripoll1, 2, J.J. Vaquero1,
  • I Cuadrado*, MV Gómez-Gaviro*, Javier Bermejo, Yolanda Benito, Manuel Desco, Francisco Fernández-Avilés, María Fernández (IIBM), L Boscá1 and B de las Heras. A labdane diterpene exerts ex vivo and in vivo cardioprotection against post-ischemic injury: Involvement of AKT-dependent mechanisms. Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Dec 31. pii: S0006-2952(14)00725-4.
  • MV Gómez-Gaviro, PL Sánchez, Lovell-Badge, R. and Fernández-Avilés, F. Looking for the niche: substance delivery into the lateral ventricle of the brain: implantation of the osmotic minipump system : Chapter in Methods and Protocols; Methods in Molecular Biology Springer's protocols. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;1035:135-40.
  • MV Gómez-Gaviro, Lovell-Badge, R., Fernández-Avilés, F., and Lara-Pezzi, E. The vascular stem cell niche. J. Cardiovasc. Transl. Res. 2012 Oct;5(5):618-30.
  • MV Gómez-Gaviro, Scott C, A. Sessay, S. Booth, A., Matheu. and Lovell-Badge R. Betacellulin induces proliferación in the neural stem cell niche and induces neurogenesis. Jan Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2012. 109(4):1317-22.
  • Charlotte E. Scott, et al, MV Gómez-Gaviro, Bo Gao, Kathrin S.E. Chea, Lovell-Badge R, Briscoe J. Sox9 induces and manteins neural stem cells. Nat. Neurosci. 2010. 13(10):1181-9.


  • FIS2018: PI18/00462
  • Brade, I+D Tecnologías P2013/ICE 2958.
  • Marie Curie Intraeuropean Fellowship. 7th FP, EU. 2011-2013. "Regulación de las células madre mesenquimales por la vasculature y potenciación de su capacidad regenerativa en el tratamiento del infarto de miocardio”; Score 97/100. Grant ref. 275885.
  • Marie Curie Intraeuropean Fellowship. 6th FP, EU. 2006-2008. "Role of the vasculature in the neural stem cell niche". Score 87,5/100. Project Nº 024714.

Entidades Financiadoras

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