Group of Neurovascular Research Unit (NRU)

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Faculty of Medicine

The Neurovascular Research Unit (NRU), located at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology ( of the Medical School at the Complutense University (Universidad Complutense de Madrid; UCM), at the Health Research Institute of Hospital Doce de Octubre (i+12; and at Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III; CNIC;, is coordinated by Prof. Ignacio Lizasoain (UCM; i+12) and Prof. María Ángeles Moro (CNIC), and is integrated by several members including postdoctoral researchers, postgraduate and pregraduate students, technicians and an administrative manager.
The NRU is forged with a triple dimension, that encompasses research, teaching and innovation. As part of academia, a cardinal objective of NRU is the training of future researchers and university professors and lecturers, as well as the generation of knowledge. In its research facet, the NRU is fully committed to the understanding of neurovascular diseases (stroke and vascular cognitive impairment) at the preclinical level and with a strong translational projection through the close interaction with clinical neurologists in several hospitals. In addition, a major aim of the NRU has been to generate scientific results with good prospects for the transition to the industry that contribute to health care advancement and innovation.

The Neurovascular Research Unit (UIN) has 5 laboratories:
1. Lab. for analytical techniques with spectrophotometers, microplate readers, flow cytometer, etc.
2. Molecular biology lab. with DNA/RNA/protein analysis such as PCR and qRT-PCR, Nanodrop, etc.
3. Cell Culture Unit with nucleofector system.
4. Lab. for models of stroke with 6 rat/mouse animal stations with the necessary equipment including blood autoanalyser, doppler equipment, etc.
5. Microscopy lab. with digital image analysis, 2 transmitted light and epifluorescence microscopes, stereology and neuronal reconstruction software (StereoInvestigator and Neurolucida; Microbrightfield; Volocity) and Zeiss LSM-710 spectral confocal microscope.
In addition, UIN has the CAIs (Research Assistance Centres) of UCM, such as the Flow Cytometry, Confocal and Electronic Microscopy CAI, the DNA Sequencing CAI, the Magnetic Resonance (MRI equipment for animals of 4.7 Teslas and portable ICON equipment), the CAI of Brain Mapping (micro-PET).

Stroke, the major neurovascular disorder, is the 2nd most common cause of death and the 3rd most common cause of disabilities in the European Union, with a tremendous health impact. Our research lines include the study of the damage that results from stroke, the search of therapeutic and prognostic targets of this pathology. We are also focused on the development of new ways to help the brain repair itself to restore important functions.
Because of the growing age of the population, dementia is a major socio-sanitary problem affecting millions of lives, a number that will keep on increasing, and with a huge social cost. Vascular cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID), the 2nd most common cause of dementia, includes brain disorders in which cognitive impairment is attributable to cerebrovascular pathologies. In this field, our research lines are focused on the analysis of the different neuropathological substrates underlying each different type of VCID and in the identification of mechanisms and therapeutic and diagnostic targets.
Our main lines of research (in parentheses some of the most relevant papers) are:
– Role of Innate Immunity (Circulation 2007; Mol Ther 2018; Stroke 2018, 2019)
– Vascular Cognitive Impairment (eNeuro 2018; J Clin Invest 2019; FASEB J 2019)
– Role of neutrophils on stroke (Stroke 2013, 2019; Science 2014; Immunity 2019)
– Neurogenesis and stroke (FASEB J 2014; Stroke 2017; J Clin Invest 2019)
– New targets for stroke therapy (Circulation 2008; J Neurosci 2009; Circulation 2014)
– Hemorrhagic Transformation (Stroke 2016, 2017, 2018)
– Excitotoxicity (J Neurosci 2004; J Exp Med 2006; J Clin Invest 2013)
– Ischemic Tolerance and stroke (Ann Neurol 2003; J Neurosci 2004; JCBFM 2007)
See our website ( for more details.