Axis 4: Neurosciences

Coordinators: M.NAASSILA (UPJV) and P.MOLLARET (URCA)
Participating Teams: INSERM ERi 24, EA4559, EA 4285/UMI 01,EA 6291, EA 7273

This axis of the Federative Research Structure(FRS) CAP-Santé (UPJV-URCA) brings together five public research laboratories around the common area "Neurosciences". This federation of neurosciences, health and social sciences laboratories aims to pool resources and develop research strategies concerning the brain and its diseases. The strategic approaches aim to foster interactions between laboratories and cover many fields of research in experimental and clinical neurosciences. It focuses on the study of emotions / social cognition and, as another axis, development / language / networks / pathologies.

Emotions, particular processing and recognition capabilities are explored in the context of psychiatric disorders (including anxiety disorders such as social phobia and panic disorder) or high levels of trait anxiety in the general population or neuropathological disorders (Alzheimer dementia). The work also focuses on cognitive functions affected in psychopathology, and may constitute traits symptoms. Executive functioning is seen in disorders of anxiety and depression, or even alcohol dependence, with the assumption that this is a marker of cognitive vulnerability. Episodic memory is itself studied in depressive illness related to self noetic consciousness and intentionality. These deficits are supposed to be predictive of relapse and suicidal acting out. We hypothesize that cognitive dysfunction may have an impact on the clinic, permitting to substantiate remediation strategies. Empathy is a theme developed in several works, to put in interaction between the fields "emotion" and "cognition". Empathic dysfunction is also seen as a cognitive and emotional component present in anxiety and mood disorders. These would be traits symptoms. The deficit in empathy could be a predictive marker of recurrence of sexual assault. Studies aim at identifying the brain mechanisms underlying emotional processing and the construction of an empathic response in different psychopathology contexts, using functionnal MRI tasks adapted from different populations. The purpose of these studies is the better understanding of personnal functioning and on the rehabilitation of interpersonal relationships. We have plans to mutualize our protocols whith that of the other axes of the SFR, and so to combine approaches and tools for a same pathology (psychiatric or neurological disorders) or theme (different models of empathy).
A collaboration between three teams EA 4559, EA 6297 and INSERM ERi 24 is the study of cognitive and emotional troubles in youth who are exposed to paroxystic alcohol consumption ("binge drinking"). This collaboration is part of a broader theme in which the neurobiological basis of alcohol dependence are studied in humans and in animal models. Our aim is to determine if early exposure and mode of exposure to alcohol are predictors of disease development. The common theme between the two research teams is supported by a European project INTERREG IVA ALCOBINGE (2009-2013). Other collaborations are already in place between the teams of the UPJV and URCA: the team of chemists of the UMR 7312 (URCA) works with the INSERM ERi 24 (UPJV) team to develop selective inhibitors of class I histone deacetylases, effective in reducing excessive consumption of alcohol in dependent animals. The three teams are working on a structuring regional project ALCOOLPREDICT (2012-2013) that explores the predictive (neurocognitive and genetic) factors involved in binge drinking. In this project and the european project ALCOBINGE, the study of brain function is performed by the technique of fMRI at Reims University Hospital.