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Mariangela Nikolakopoulou, PhD
Assistant Professor of Research Physiology & Biophysics
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute
ZNI 301 1501 San Pablo Street Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
+1 323 442 0216


I’m particularly interested in research associated with neurodegenerative diseases Early in my scientific career, I focused my research on Multiple Sclerosis and I used in vitro models to investigate factors that may enhance neurogenesis in white matter lesions. I discovered through my studies that trypsinogen, a serine protease, is an activated-microglia secreted factor that increases neurogenesis. Later in my career I applied my previous findings to discover neuroprotective agents against toxicity in Alzheimer Disease.
Currently, my studies focus on blood brain barrier (BBB) damage and vascular-related neurodegeneration. In particular, I am studying pericyte deficiency in relation to demyelination, while my recent studies focus on selective ablation of pericytes in adulthood causing BBB leakage and distortion of capillary density. In addition, I am studying the effects of endothelial LRP1 depletion and am showing that short and long-term treatment with Cyclosporine A can reverse BBB leakage and neurodegeneration respectively.
Over the years I have been successful in obtaining extramural funding from the Multiple Sclerosis society (NMMS) to study the effects of astrocytic ephrinB1 in demyelination and remyelination.
Some of the techniques I apply for my studies include cell culture, western blotting, immunoprecipitation, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence, immunocytochemistry, electron microscopy pre-embedding immunohistochemistry, cell transfection, viral infections, intracranial injections, microvessel isolation, CSF extraction, and reverse transcriptase chain polymerase reaction.


. View in: PubMed

Presenilin 1 promotes trypsin-induced neuroprotection via the PAR2/ERK signaling pathway. Effects of presenilin 1 FAD mutations. Neurobiol Aging. 2016 Jun; 42:41-9. View in: PubMed

Astrocytic Ephrin-B1 Regulates Synapse Remodeling Following Traumatic Brain Injury. ASN Neuro. 2016 Feb; 8(1). View in: PubMed

Activated microglia enhance neurogenesis via trypsinogen secretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 21; 110(21):8714-9. View in: PubMed

Synaptic maturation of the Xenopus retinotectal system: effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor on synapse ultrastructure. J Comp Neurol. 2010 Apr 1; 518(7):972-89. View in: PubMed

Netrin participates in the development of retinotectal synaptic connectivity by modulating axon arborization and synapse formation in the developing brain. J Neurosci. 2009 Sep 9; 29(36):11065-77. View in: PubMed

Cell-autonomous TrkB signaling in presynaptic retinal ganglion cells mediates axon arbor growth and synapse maturation during the establishment of retinotectal synaptic connectivity. J Neurosci. 2007 Mar 7; 27(10):2444-56. View in: PubMed

Passive avoidance training is correlated with decreased cell proliferation in the chick hippocampus. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Nov; 24(9):2631-42. View in: PubMed

Early post-hatching sex differences in cell proliferation and survival in the quail telencephalic ventricular zone and intermediate medial mesopallium. Brain Res Bull. 2006 Jun 30; 70(2):107-16. View in: PubMed

Passive avoidance training decreases synapse density in the hippocampus of the domestic chick. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Feb; 23(4):1054-62. View in: PubMed

BDNF stabilizes synapses and maintains the structural complexity of optic axons in vivo. Development. 2005 Oct; 132(19):4285-98. View in: PubMed

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