Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an increasingly diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder, the exact pathogenesis of which is relatively poorly understood. However, an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory signalling processes occurs in several affected brain areas. To investigate this, a rat model of autism is used, and the manifestation and degree of symptoms in the pups are assessed by behavioural tests. The functioning and excitability of the affected brain areas is being studied using a variety of methods, from the single neuron level to the level of networks.
Both humans and animals are exposed to increasing levels of various environmental pollutants, the exact mechanism of their neurological effects is usually not well known. In our laboratory, we analyse the effects on neural function of potentially harmful environmental substances that may enter the body. So far, we have mainly investigated pesticide residues (insecticides) and mycotoxins in collaboration with research groups working in agricultural universities.
Another current research topic is the investigating the neural effects of bioactive plant compounds. Several such compounds are used therapeutically in traditional medicine, but their mechanism of action is not fully understood. In collaboration with the Department of Plant Anatomy, we are studying the neurobiological effects of these compounds.
Our research group mainly carries out electrophysiological measurements on surviving rat brain slices, complemented by behavioural and histological studies.
- Catholic University Leuven, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Department of Neurosciences
- University of Bristol, School of Medical Sciences
- Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Institute of Physiology and Feed Science
- University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry
- Eötvös Loránd University, Department of Plant Anatomy