Neuroscience in Denmark

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General information

Name (center, department, group or other)
Marco Capogna Group, Department of Biomedicine, DANDRITE, Aarhus University
Contact name
Marco Capogna
Contact email
Contact title
21. October 2016
(Last edited: 1. March 2018)

Brief description of research activities

The overarching aim of the research activities is to define the neuronal circuits of the human and rodent cerebral cortex and connected subcortical areas, as they are cellular regulators of cognitive process in health and disease. We wish to define what neuronal circuitry guides emotional-dependent learning and memory, and how it is modified in animal models of fear and anxiety disorders.

To achieve this goal we investigate the structure and the function of various neuron types in the rodent amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Major focus is on GABAergic neuron types because of their critical role in controlling circuits activity and because of their diversity. We also investigate the structure, function, communication and responses to drugs of neurons in the human cerebral cortex, the largest and most frequently affected brain area in disease.

My research group uses an integrated approach combining electrophysiology, neuropharmacology, optogenetic, cellular imaging and high resolution anatomy.

Understanding the neural mechanisms controlling cortex-hippocampal-amygdala network activity may eventually lead to novel therapeutic strategies to reverse or ameliorate psychiatric disorders.


amygdala, hippocampus, cerebral cortex, GABAergic neuron, synaptic transmission, electrophysiology, optogenetic, neuroanatomy, memory, psychiatric disorders

Research tools and techniques

- electrophysiology in vivo and in vitro
- optogenetic
- neuron type definition using anatomical, genetic, pharmacological and functional methods
- synaptic communication via paired recordings and structural analysis of synaptic contacts
- behavior of memory, sleep

Scientific Personnel

No of Associate Professors/Postdocs: 2
No of PhD students: 1
Other: 1

Key references from within the last 5 years

1) Bocchio M., Nabavi S. and Capogna M. (2017) Synaptic plasticity, engrams and network oscillations in amygdala circuits for storage and retrieval of emotional memories, Neuron (Cell Press), 94: 731-743.
Review on relationship between synaptic plasticity, network oscillations and engrams as memory substrates.

2) Sengupta A., Bocchio M., Bannerman D.M., Sharp, T. and Capogna M. (2017) Control of amygdala circuits by 5-HT neurons via 5-HT and glutamate co-transmission, Journal of Neuroscience, 37(7): 1785-1796, 2017. Commentary in J Neuroscience 37 (7) i.
Discovery that raphe axons can co-release serotonin and glutamate onto amygdala interneurons.

3) Bocchio M., Fisher S.P., Unal G., Ellender T.J., Vyazovskiy V.V., and Capogna M. (2016) Sleep and serotonin modulate paracapsular nitric oxide synthase expressing neurons of the amygdala, eNeuro, Journal of Neuroscience on line, Society for Neuroscience, in press,
Demonstration that a novel GABAergic population of rodent basolateral amygdala is activated by sleep after sleep deprivation.

4) Bocchio M., McHugh S.B., Bannerman, D.M., Sharp T., and Capogna M. (2016) Serotonin, amygdala and fear: assembling the puzzle, Frontiers in Neural Circuits, Volume 10, Article 24, doi: 10.3389/fncir.2016.00024
This is a comprehensive review on serotoninergig signalling in the amygdala and its translational consequence.

5) Bazelot M., Bocchio M., Kasugai Y., Fischer D., Ferraguti F., and Capogna M. (2015) Hippocampal theta input to the amygdala shapes feedforward inhibition to gate heterosynaptic plasticity, Neuron (Cell Press), 87: 1290-303.
This paper demonstrates that GABAergic neurons of the basal amygdala gate principal neuron firing and synaptic plasticity.

6) Bienvenu T.C.M., Busti D., Micklem B.R., Mansouri M., Magill P.J., Ferraguti F. & Capogna M. (2015) Large intercalated neurons of amygdala relay noxious sensory information. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(5): 2044-2057.
Discovery of a long-range GABAergic neuron in the amygdala projecting to cortical areas.

7) Bocchio M., Fucsina G., Oikonomidis L., McHugh S.B., Bannerman D., Sharp T., and Capogna M. (2015) Increased 5-HT transporter expression reduces fear and recruitment of parvalbumin interneurons of the amygdala, Neuropsychopharmacology (Nature publishing group), 40: 3015-26.
First evidence of changes in the function of a neurochemically-defined neuron type due to genetic alterations in the 5-HT transporter expression.

8) Li G., Stewart R., Canepari M., & Capogna M. (2014) Firing of hippocampal neurogliaform cells induces suppression of synaptic inhibition. J.ournal of Neuroscience 34:1280-1292. Commentary in J Neuroscience 34 (4)j-i.
This paper shows that nitric oxide evoked by specific classes of hippocampal interneurons mediates synaptic plasticity.

9) Bienvenu C.M., Busti D., Magill P.J., Ferraguti F., and Capogna M. (2012) Cell type-specific recruitment of amygdala interneurons to hippocampal theta rhythm and noxious stimuli in vivo. Neuron (Cell Press), 74 (6): 1059-1074, 2012. Paper selected and recommended for F1000.
First comprehensive definition of GABAergic neuron types of the basolateral amygdala.

10) Manko M., Bienvenu C.M., Dalezios Y. & Capogna M. (2012) Neurogliaform cells of amygdala: a source of slow phasic inhibition in the basolateral complex. Journal of Physiology, 590 (22): 5611-5627.
Discovery of neurogliaform cell type in the amygdala of rodents.

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