Institute of Cellular & Integrative Neuroscience (INCI) | UPR3212  Director: Michel Barrot




Team "Neuroanatomy, Pain & Psychopathology"

Ipek Yalcin

Ipek Yalcin is a CNRS research director. Her team works on chronic pain treatments as well as on their anxiety-depressive consequences. It is thus a pioneer in the study of the links between pain and mood disorders. The team's study of pain treatments covers the action of opiates as well as that of antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Several techniques are used in this laboratory, combining behavioural, neuroanatomical, electrophysiological and genomic approaches.

INCI Website of Team "Neuroanatomy, Pain & Psychopathology"


Team "Opioid system, Nociception and Pain"

Dominique Massotte

Dominique Massotte is CNRS research director. Her team investigates the molecular mechanisms by which the endogenous opioid system operates within neural circuits and adapts to chronic stimulation. A major axis explores the alterations of endogenous opioid controls in neuropathic conditions and their impact on the effectiveness of opiate treatments, two complementary aspects essential to develop more effective therapeutic strategies for pain management. Neuropathic pain being more prevalent in females, a focus is also set on identifying the determinants of sexual differences in analgesia and opiate tolerance. To these aims, our team combines mouse models and analysis from molecular and cellular to integrated levels, mingling biochemical approaches, high-resolution fluorescence imaging, primary cultures, brain and spinal cord slices, electrophysiology, mass spectrometry and animal behavior.

INCI Website of Team "Opioid system, nociception and pain"


Team "Peptidergic Control of Emotions"

Alexandre Charlet

Alexandre Charlet is a CNRS research fellow. His team’s research is focused on the understanding of cellular mechanisms underlying the regulation of emotions, from social interaction to pain and anxiety. Therefore, they explore how central neuropeptides modulate the neuroglia network in emotion-related structures, such as the amygdala. For this purpose the team members combine ex vivo and in vivo approaches of electrophysiology, calcium imaging and behaviour with genetic tools.

INCI Website of Team "Peptidergic Control of Emotions"


Team "Physiology of Neural Networks"

Philippe Isope & Matilde Cordero-Erausquin

Philippe Isope and Matilde Cordero-Erausquin are research directors at the CNRS. They work on understanding the functional properties of synaptic transmission and neuronal networks in mice. The main objective is to identify the procedures, in normal and pathological cases, of processing information in the cerebellum, the olfactory bulb and the spinal cord where the first relay of nociception is located. The researchers use different approaches: in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, molecular biology, optogenetics and biphotonic imaging in order to study these questions at all levels of organisation, from the cell to the organism.

INCI Website of Team "Physiology of Neural Networks"


Team "Impact of Pain on Sleep Regulation"

Patrice Bourgin

Professor Patrice Bourgin and his team work on sleep regulation mechanisms as well as on the role of light and its functional interactions with neuropsychiatric pathologies. The team made major advances in identifying genetic markers and understanding the pathophysiology of narcolepsy. Projects are being carried out by working on improving sleep in people with chronic pain (e.g. in fibromyalgia) or by trying to reduce the chronicisation of pain by improving sleep in patients at risk. Indeed, pain, when it becomes chronic, is associated with many comorbidities aggravated by sleep disorders. Conversely, when the quality of sleep is degraded, pain can become chronic. In addition to clinical research carried out at the Centre for Sleep Disorders at Strasbourg University Hospitals, work is also carried out on animal models.

The SUH website of Team "Impact of Pain on Sleep Regulation"


Team "Regulation and disruption of neuroendocrine rhythms"

Valérie Simonneaux & Hervé Cadiou

It is now well established that animals and maybe humans can detect the geomagnetic field (GMF). While the role of the GMF in animal navigation has been extensively studied, it has been shown to regulate other biological processes such as circadian rhythms. However, more unexpectedly Earth strength magnetic fields have also been shown to modulate pain and nociception. For instance, experiments carried out by Prato and collaborators and others have shown that mice shielded from the ambient magnetic field displayed analgesia in pain behavioural tests. Work carried out in my laboratory has established a new model in magnetoreception in planarians (flat worms)7. It was shown that planarians are able to sense the GMF inclination for navigational tasks. On the other hand, we have also implemented a chemical nociception assay in flat worms. The idea is therefore to combine the two approaches in order to assess magnetic field application/shielding as a potential therapeutic avenue. Nociceptive assays are carried out in the presence or absence of magnetic fields. Additional experiments will be carried out in order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of magnetic-field induced nociceptive modulation. Besides, work in collaboration with Prof Virginia Wotring at the International Space University (Illkirch, France) are carried out to study the effects of both simulated low gravity and the absence of magnetic field, thus mimicking space travel on nociception.

INCI Website of Team "Regulation and disruption of neuroendocrine rhythms"