Coinciding with the celebration of International Cancer Day, we present the Physiopatology and Pharmacology of the Digestive System of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (NeuGut-URJC) led by Dr. Raquel Abalo Delgado

Group presentation

The Research Group in Pathophysiology and Pharmacology of the Digestive System of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (NeuGut-URJC) is led by Dr. Raquel Abalo Delgado, Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Basic Health Sciences (Faculty of Health Sciences) of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Group research interests

The main aim of NeuGut is to characterize the physio-histo-pathological alterations of the gastrointestinal tract and the brain-gut axis in animal models of disease or after drug treatments (including antineoplastic drugs), and evaluate new strategies (pharmacological, nutritional) in order to normalize those alterations. Among others, the group applies techniques to analyze gastrointestinal motility, both in vivo and in vitro, that are not available altogether in any other lab of the world.

Besides, the group performs cell culture and tissue engineering studies, as well as evaluations of visceral, reproductive and neurologic toxicity of different compounds (environmental, therapeutic drugs, drugs of abuse, new materials, etc).

The main topics of interest to the group are:

-Physiopathology and histo-pathology of the digestive system and the brain-gut axis

– New pharmacological and nutritional strategies for prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders

– Side effects of drug treatments on the digestive tract and the brain-gut axis

– Visceral, reproductive and neurologic toxicity of different compounds (environmental, therapeutic drugs, drugs of abuse, new materials, etc)

– Tissue engineering

– Cell physiopathology

Contributions of the group to the field of Research

Our main focus has been the preclinical characterization of GI motility alterations associated with cancer chemotherapy, and the effects of cannabinoid agonists/antagonists in them. Our group was the first to characterize the enteric neuropathies occurring as sequelae of cyclic chemotherapy in preclinical models, and to determine the effects of cannabinoid agonists and antagonists to alleviate/prevent the associated GI motility alterations. GI motility alterations associated with aging, obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes and pharmacologic and nutritional therapeutic strategies are also being addressed in our lab. We have developed our own methods to evaluate GI tract motility in experimental animals, which have been adopted by other groups. We are interested in characterizing, using sophisticated computerized methods in collaboration with engineers (fluoroscopy,

ultrasound vocalization), subtle alterations of GI motility and visceral sensitivity present in models of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sepsis and cytokine storm, metabolic syndrome and schizophrenia, and differences associated with gender. We are particularly interested in the effects of nutraceuticals as both preventive and therapeutic strategies against chronic diseases, but also the consequences of infections like the one associated with COVID-19.

Lasted published works

1. Szymaszkiewicz A, López-Gómez L, Zielińska M, Abalo R. Nutraceuticals and satellite glial cells. J Integr Neurosci. 2022 vol. 21(1), 1-10. DOI:10.31083/j.jin2101001
2. Bagues A, López-Tofiño Y, Llorente-Berzal A, Abalo R. Cannabinoid drugs against chemotherapy-induced adverse effects: focus on nausea/vomiting, peripheral neuropathy and chemobrain. Behav Pharmacol. 2022. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000667.
3. Boullon L, Abalo R, Llorente-Berzal. Cannabinoid drugs-induced neuroprotection as a potential therapeutic tool against chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Nov 12;12:734613. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.734613.
4. Fernández J, Silván B, Entrialgo R, Villar CJ, Capasso R, Uranga JA, Lombó F, Abalo R. Antiproliferative and palliative activity of flavonoids in colorectal cancer. Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 Nov;143:112241. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2021.112241.
5. Abalo R. Coffee and Caffeine Consumption for Human Health. Nutrients 2021, 13, 2918.
6. Bagüés A, López-Tofiño Y, Gálvez-Robleño C, Abalo R. Effects of two different acute and subchronic stressors on gastrointestinal transit in the rat: a radiographic analysis. Neurogastroenterol Motil. Aug 11:e14232. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14232
7. Ortega Moreno L, Fernández-Tomé S, Abalo R. Biological treatments in inflammatory bowel disease: a complex mix of mechanisms and actions. Biologics 2021, 1, 189-210.
8. Ortega Moreno L, Navarro Sánchez P, Abalo R. Lipidomics as tools for finding biomarkers of intestinal pathology: from irritable bowel syndrome to colorectal cancer. Curr Drug Targets. 2021 Jul 7. doi: 10.2174/1389450122666210707122151.
9. Herradón E, González C, González A, Uranga JA, López-Miranda V.Cardiovascular. Toxicity Induced by Chronic Vincristine Treatment. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Jul 21;12:692970. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.692970.
10. López-Gómez L, Szymaszkiewicz A, Zielińska M, Abalo R. Nutraceuticals and Enteric Glial Cells. Molecules 2021, 26, 3762.
11. Jacenik D, Bagüés A, López-Gómez L, López-Tofiño Y, Iriondo-DeHond A, Serra C, Banovcanová L, Gálvez-Robleño C, Fichna J, Del Castillo MD, Uranga JA, Abalo R. Changes in Fatty Acid Dietary Profile Affect the Brain-Gut Axis Functions of Healthy Young Adult Rats in a Sex-Dependent Manner. Nutrients. 2021 May 30;13(6):1864. doi: 10.3390/nu13061864.
12. López-Tofiño Y, Vera G, López-Gómez L, Girón R, Nurgali K, Uranga JA, Abalo R. Effects of the food additive monosodium glutamate on cisplatin-induced gastrointestinal dysmotility and peripheral neuropathy in the rat. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2021 Apr;33(4): e14020. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14020.
13. López-Gómez L, López-Tofiño Y, Abalo R. Dependency on sex and stimulus quality of nociceptive behavior in a conscious visceral pain rat model. Neurosci Lett. 2021 Jan 22:135667. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2021.135667.
14. Iriondo-DeHond A, Uranga JA, del Castillo MD, Abalo R. Effects of Coffee and Its Components on the Gastrointestinal Tract and the Brain–Gut Axis. Nutrients 2021, 13, 88.
15. Uranga JA, Martínez V, Abalo R. Mast Cell Regulation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Effects of Food Components with Potential Nutraceutical Use. Molecules. 2020 Sep 20;25(18):4314. doi: 10.3390/molecules25184314.
16. Sahakian L, Filippone RT, Stavely R, Robinson AM, Yan XS, Abalo R, Eri R, Bornstein JC, Kelley MR, Nurgali K. Inhibition of APE1/Ref-1 Redox Signaling Alleviates Intestinal Dysfunction and Damage to Myenteric Neurons in a Mouse Model of Spontaneous Chronic Colitis. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2020 Jul 3:izaa161. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izaa161.
17. Stavely R, Abalo R, Nurgali K. Targeting Enteric Neurons and Plexitis for the Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Curr Drug Targets. 2020 May 16. doi: 10.2174/1389450121666200516173242.
18. Santiago L, Castro M, Sanz-Pamplona R, Garzón M, Ramirez-Labrada A, Tapia E, Moreno V, Layunta E, Gil-Gómez G, Garrido M, Peña R, Lanuza MP, Comas L, Jaime-Sanchez P, Uranga-Murillo I, del Campo R, Pelegrín P, Martínez-Lostao L, Muñoz G, Uranga JA, Alcalde A, Galvez EM, Ferrandez A, Bird PI, Metkar S, Arias MA, Pardo J. Granzyme A drives colorectal cancer development by promoting gut inflammation. Cell Reports. 2020 32 (1): 107847. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107847
19. Martínez V, Iriondo De-Hond A, Borrelli F, Capasso R, Del Castillo MD, Abalo R. Cannabidiol and Other Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoids for Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: Useful Nutraceuticals? Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 26;21(9). pii: E3067. doi: 10.3390/ijms21093067.