Brazil: I workshop on neuroplasticity


In neuroscience, the term neuroplasticity applies to the capacity of the brain to adapt and change in response to experience (Fuchs and Flugue, 2014). William James was the first to propose this term in 1890, defending the idea that brain functions are not fixed during life (James, 1890).


Notably, the concept of neuroplasticity has expanded to include not only changes at a morphological level but also biochemical and pharmacological adaptations (intracellular pathways, receptors, synaptic proteins), alterations in neuronal networks (changes in connectivity, dendritic remodeling, and number and morphology of dendritic spines), as well as the generation of new neurons (i.e., adult neurogenesis) (Fuchs and Flugue, 2014). These neuroplastic modifications, moreover, can be either adaptive or maladaptive. Therefore, the mechanisms responsible for these changes may be a great window of opportunity for understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of mental illness (Kays et al., 2012).


Psychiatric disorders may result from significant neuroplastic changes that lead to new set points of brain functions (Pallanti, 2016). For instance, several neuropsychiatric conditions have been associated with stress-induced changes in dendritic remodeling and decreased adult hippocampal neurogenesis (Campos et al., 2013, Bessa et al., 2009). Corroborating this proposal, decreased hippocampal volume and reduced proliferative activity of neurogenic niches have been described in mood disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia patients (Dhikav and Anand, 2006, Reif et al., 2006, Lucassen et al., 2010).


The therapeutic effects of several psychotropic drugs usually need two to six weeks to be clinically recognized. This fact suggests that time-dependent structural reorganization of neuronal circuits and biochemical synaptic changes are required for the pharmacological action of these drugs (Fogaça et al., 2013, Konradi and Heckers, 2001).


Antidepressants are probably the most studied class of medication associated with plastic brain changes. For example, chronic, but not acute, treatment with antidepressants such as serotonin selective uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclics increases the expression of Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) (Castrén et al., 2007), prevents stress-induced hippocampal dendritic atrophy (Bessa et al., 2009) and facilitates adult hippocampal neurogenesis in rodents (Malberg et al., 2000, Santarelli et al., 2003). Neuroplastic changes have also been associated with the effects of antipsychotic drugs. Haloperidol modifies the number/shape of dendritic spines and synaptic strength and increases expression of synaptic proteins (Eastwood et al., 1997, Harris, 1999, Matus 1999, Nakahara et al., 1999).


The aim of the workshop is to discuss with the attendants the most important aspects of the current knowledge involving the theme Neuroplasticity and its interface with pharmacology. During the workshop, attendants will have the opportunity of being contact and discuss with researchers several aspects related to neuroplasticity. Additionally, they will have the chance to present their results as poster or oral presentations. Brazilian researchers and international guests with expertise in the subject will sponsor all activities proposed here. Everything will be planned to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, encouraging live discussions and future collaborations. In addition to academic activities, extracurricular activities will be stimulated during meals and social events during the free time.


Organizational Committee

  • Prof. Dr. Alline Campos – School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto – University of São Paulo, Brazil;

  • Prof. Dr. Cilene Lino de Oliveira - Federal University of Santa Catarina - Brazil;

  • Prof. Dr. Sâmia Regiane Lourenço Joca – School of Pharmaceutical Science– University of São Paulo – Brazil;

  • Prof. Dr. Rúbia Maria Weffort de Oliveira – State University of Maringa – Brazil.

Workshop Committee

  • Rafael Pazinatto Aguiar – Ph.D student – State University of Maringa – Brazil;

  • Franciele Franco Scarante – M.Sc student – School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto – University of São Paulo – Brazil;

  • Nilson Carlos Ferreira Jr. – Post-doc – School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto – University of São Paulo – Brazil;

  • Gabriel Gripp Fernandes – Ph.D student – School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto – University of São Paulo – Brazil.


  • Prof. Dr. Alline Campos – School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto – University of São Paulo – 3900 Bandeirantes avenue – 14049900 – Ribeirão Preto – Brazil.
    Title: Manipulations of neural progenitor cells in adult neurogenic niches: potential therapeutic targets?

  • Dr. Perla Leal Galicia – Department of Molecular Medicine – Intituto Politecnico Nacional – Av Instituto Politécnico Nacional – Lindavista – Nueva Industrial Vallejo – 07738 – Ciudad de México – Mexico. 
    Title: Cholesterol Enriched or Fatty-Acid Diets and hippocampal neurogenesis.

  • Dr. Felipe Vilella Gomes – Department of Neuroscience – University of Pittsburgh – A210 Langley Hall – 15260 – Pittsburgh – USA
    Title: The impact of stress on the dopamine system activity is dependent on the state of the critical period of plasticity.

  • Prof. Dr. Sâmia Regiane Lourenço Joca – School of Pharmaceutical Science – University of São Paulo – Brazil.
    Title: Neuroplastic mechanisms involved in the rapid antidepressant effect of Cannabidiol.

  • Prof. Dr. Cilene Lino de Oliveira – Department of Physiological Sciences – CCB – Federal University of Santa Catarina – Florianópolis – SC – 88040-900 – Brazil.
    Title: Defensive behavior, enrichment environment and adult neurogenesis.

  • Prof. Dr. Rúbia Maria Weffort de Oliveira – State University of Maringa – Brazil
    Title: Brain ischemia, neuroplasticity and behavior.

  • Prof. Dr. Eero Castrén – Neuroscience Center – University of Helsinki – Finland – PL 56 Room: A120b HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO – Finland.
    Title: Neural mechanisms of plasticity in adult brain.

  • Prof. Dr. Catherine Belzung – iBrain – University of Tours &amp – Institut Universitaire de France UFR Sciences et Techniques – Parc Grandmont – F-37200 Tours
    Title: Involvement of adult newborn neurons in prevention and treatment of stress-related disorders: role of extra-hippocampal networks.

  • Dr. Josef Priller – Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin – Department of Neuropsychiatry – Charitéplatz 110117 Berlin – Germany
    Title: Microglia: the immune sentinel that talks to neurons.

Number of participants: only 80 places will be available for the workshop.

Dates: The workshop will take place in the School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto – University of São Paulo – Brazil, from 4th to 6th of June/2018.



Abstract submission: April 25th

Abstract must be send to


Format: Background, methods, results, conclusions, number of ethical committee approval (250 words- title and authors not included).


Registration: May 15th (in case of remaining spots in the Workshop, this date will be extended)



  • Students: R$ 110,00

  • PhD students: R$ 135,00

  • Delegates: R$ 180,00



Lectures: 50 minutes + 15 minute for questions


Poster presentation: 60 minutes

Poster Specifications: Accepted posters for the symposium must be 900 x 1200mm maximum/ portrait orientation


Seminars – Students’ Presentations: 20 minutes


The activities of the Workshop will be scientifically supported by the Brazilian Society of Neuroscience and Behavior (SBNEC) and the Department of Pharmacology – FMRP-USP.

Financial support: FALAN