Dr Alessandro Castorina

Honorary Senior Lecturer
Anatomy &
Histology: School Medical Sciences

Telephone 0422300507

Curriculum vitae Curriculum vitae

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Biographical details

Alessandro Castorina was born and grew up in Catania, Italy. He obtained a Master degree in Exercise/Sport Science (2005) and a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology (2009) at the University of Catania, Italy. Soon after his became recipient of a post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Anatomy and Histology for the subsequent 2 years, which was renewed for a further year for his scientific accomplishments. In 2011 he was appointed Lecturer in Anatomy and Neuroanatomy at the same Department. In 2014 he was awarded a International Research Collaborative Award (IRCA) from the University of Sydney, Australia, to carry out collaborative research with the School of Molecular Bioscience for a brief period (Prof. Iain Campbell's laboratories). He is currently on a sabbatical of 12 months to undertake a new challenge as a Research Fellow within the Laboratory of Neural Structure and Function (LNSF) with the supervision of Assoc/Prof. Kevin Keay.

Research interests

The main research interests of Dr Castorina are on studying the broad function of two endogenously produced neuropeptides known as PACAP and VIP in the central and peripheral nervous system. During his studies at the University of Catania, his research group has succeeded to identify novel interesting neuroprotective, trophic and antiinfammatory functions of these peptides in diverse in vitro biological settings and in vivo, in transgenic mice models of chronic neuroencephalopathy, contributing to expanding the knowledge on the potential beneficial effects elicited by these agents against neurodegenerative/neuroinflammatory states such as Alzheimer's Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. While his researches in this area continue, they are now being also expanded to the emotional sphere, by trying to investigate for a possible relationship between the onset of behavioral disturbances and PACAP/VIP neuropeptides dysregulation in people suffering neuropathic pain using rat models of nerve injury.

Teaching and supervision

Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Visceral Anatomy

Current projects

Investigate the involvement of PACAP/VIP system in the development of affective/emotional/social disabilities caused by neuropathic pain.

Associations

Member of the Italian Society of Anatomy & Histology (2010-present)

Member of the Society for Neuroscience (2008-present)

Awards and honours

2015 - Regulation of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) expression and release in astrocytes from GFAP-Interleukin-6 and GFAP-Interferon-alpha transgenic mice; Castorina A, Campbell I; DVC Research/International Research Collaboration Award (IRCA).

2011 - Renewal of Post-Doctoral appointment (Faculty of Medicine, University of Catania, Italy)

2009-2011 - Role of PACAP and VIP in the pathophysiology of schwannoma cells and in the development of glioma-derived tumors; Castorina A; 2 years Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Faculty of Medicine, University of Catania, Italy)

International links

Italy

(Section of Pharmacology, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnologies, University of Catania, Italy) Carried out different projects with the purpose to understand the role of dopamine D3 receptors in memory, tolerance to drugs and addictive behaviors.

United States

(Semel Institute/Department of Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.) Collaboration on a project proposal aimed at assessing the role of AAV-mediated infection of PACAP transgene into animal models of experimental autoimmune encephalytis.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Musumeci, G., Leggio, G., Marzagalli, R., Al-Badri, G., Drago, F., Castorina, A. (2018). Identification of dysregulated microRNA networks in schwann cell-like cultures exposed to immune challenge: Potential crosstalk with the protective VIP/PACAP neuropeptide system. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(4), 1-20. [More Information]
  • Marzagalli, R., Leggio, G., Bucolo, C., Pricoco, E., Keay, K., Cardile, V., Castorina, S., Salomone, S., Drago, F., Castorina, A. (2016). Genetic blockade of the dopamine D3 receptor enhances hippocampal expression of PACAP and receptors and alters their cortical distribution. Neuroscience, 316, 279-295. [More Information]
  • Castorina, A., Szychlinska, M., Marzagalli, R., Musumeci, G. (2015). Mesenchymal stem cells-based therapy as a potential treatment in neurodegenerative disorders: is the escape from senescence an answer? Neural Regeneration Research, 10(6), 850-858. [More Information]

2018

  • Musumeci, G., Leggio, G., Marzagalli, R., Al-Badri, G., Drago, F., Castorina, A. (2018). Identification of dysregulated microRNA networks in schwann cell-like cultures exposed to immune challenge: Potential crosstalk with the protective VIP/PACAP neuropeptide system. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(4), 1-20. [More Information]

2016

  • Marzagalli, R., Leggio, G., Bucolo, C., Pricoco, E., Keay, K., Cardile, V., Castorina, S., Salomone, S., Drago, F., Castorina, A. (2016). Genetic blockade of the dopamine D3 receptor enhances hippocampal expression of PACAP and receptors and alters their cortical distribution. Neuroscience, 316, 279-295. [More Information]

2015

  • Castorina, A., Szychlinska, M., Marzagalli, R., Musumeci, G. (2015). Mesenchymal stem cells-based therapy as a potential treatment in neurodegenerative disorders: is the escape from senescence an answer? Neural Regeneration Research, 10(6), 850-858. [More Information]

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