Homepage - Prof. Daniela Parolaro

Prof. Daniela Parolaro

DBSF, Lab. of Neuropharmacology 
Neuroscience Center
University of Insubria
Via A. da Giussano 10
21052 BUSTO ARSIZIO (Va) Italy

Phone 0039 0331339417
Fax     0039 0331339459
e mail

Daniela Parolaro was appointed in 2000 Full Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the Faculty of Sciences of Insubria University. She began her research activity at the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Milan (1972-2000), and then at the Pharmacology Section of DBSF of the Insubria University (2000-until now). Her research is mainly concerned with receptor activation mechanisms and transduction pathways alterations upon drugs exposure. She begun working in the cannabinoid field in 1994 publishing on cannabinoid/opioid interaction at the CNS level. Her current research is mainly concerned with the cellular effects of in vivo chronic administration of natural and synthetic cannabinoids in the CNS. Besides the demonstration of the occurrence of behavioral tolerance and physical dependence to natural, synthetic and endogenous cannabinoids, she focused her attention on the cellular mechanisms underlying these phenomena, showing the relevance in specific brain areas of the alterations in receptor number and efficiency, and cyclic AMP cascade. Her current research is focused on the long-term consequences of adolescent exposure to cannabinoids, exploring alterations in behavioural responses (emotional behavior, cognition and psychotic symptoms) and their cellular correlates (CB1 receptor level and G protein coupling, CREB activation, markers of neuroplasticity). Recently, she focused her attention on a more clinically relevant topic, that is to clarify the possible role that the (endo)cannabinoid system plays in the neurobiology of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, maintaining the peculiarity of coupling behavioural responses with their cellular correlates. Finally, she is also exploring the effect of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis sativa, demonstrating its ability to inhibits glioma cell proliferation either in vitro as in vivo. The mechanism of this action lies on the activation of caspases pathway with concomitant inhibition of 5-LOX pathway. Studies are now in progress to evaluate whether Cannabidiol possesses antiangiogenetic activity through morphological (endothelial cell tube formation, wounding test) and biochemical approaches.

Academic and scientific appointments
Since 2002 Director of the first-level Degree in Medical Biology and second level in Biology Applied to Medical Research at the Faculty of Sciences of Insubria University.
Since 2005 Coordinator of the PhD course in Neurobiology of the University of Insubria
From 1997 to 2000 Director of the Center of Behavioral Pharmacology and Dependence, University of Milan and now member of the scientific committee.
Member of the Evaluation Committee of the University of Insubria.
In 2006 President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society.
Since 2002 President of the Neuroscience Center, University of Insubria
Member of the Board of the Internatiional Association of Cannabis as Medicine (IACM)
Member of the committee for the PhD course in Pharmacology of the University of Milan
Member of the Committee of Academic Pharmacologists
Member of the Italian Society of Pharmacology, Italian Society of Neuropsychopharmacology, Italian Society of Neuroscience, International Cannabinoid Research Society.

Current member of the Parolaro laboratory 

Dr. Tiziana Rubino, assistant Professor
Dr. Daniela Viganò, Post-doctoral research fellow
Dr. Cinzia Guidali, Ph.D. student (cinzia.guidali@uninsubria.it)
Dr. Natalia Realini, Ph.D. student (natalia.realini@uninsubria.it)
Dr. Marta Valenti, Ph.D. student (marta.valenti@uninsubria.it)

Relevant pubblications:

Original papers:

- Rubino T, Realini N, Castiglioni C, Guidali C, Viganó D, Marras E, Petrosino S, Perletti G, Maccarrone M, Di Marzo V, Parolaro D. Role in Anxiety Behavior of the Endocannabinoid System in the Prefrontal Cortex. Cereb Cortex. 2007 Oct 5; 

- Rubino T, Guidali C, Vigano D, Realini N, Valenti M, Massi P, Parolaro D. CB1 receptor stimulation in specific brain areas differently modulate anxiety-related behaviour. Neuropharmacology. 2007 Jul 6; 

- Agarwal N, Pacher P, Tegeder I, Amaya F, Constantin CE, Brenner GJ, Rubino T, Michalski CW, Marsicano G, Monory K, Mackie K, Marian C, Batkai S, Parolaro D, Fischer MJ, Reeh P, Kunos G, Kress M, Lutz B, Woolf CJ, Kuner R. Cannabinoids mediate analgesia largely via peripheral type 1 cannabinoid receptors in nociceptors. Nat Neurosci. 2007 Jul;10(7):870-9. 

- Fattore L, Viganò D, Fadda P, Rubino T, Fratta W, Parolaro D. Bidirectional regulation of mu-opioid and CB1-cannabinoid receptor in rats self-administering heroin or WIN 55,212-2. Eur J Neurosci. 2007 Apr;25(7):2191-200.

- Rubino T, Sala M, Viganò D, Braida D, Castiglioni C, Limonta V, Guidali C, Realini N, Parolaro D. Cellular mechanisms underlying the anxiolytic effect of low doses of peripheral Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007 Sep;32(9):2036-45. 

- Rubino T, Viganò D, Premoli F, Castiglioni C, Bianchessi S, Zippel R, Parolaro D. Changes in the expression of G protein-coupled receptor kinases and beta-arrestins in mouse brain during cannabinoid tolerance: a role for RAS-ERK cascade. Mol Neurobiol. 2006 Jun;33(3):199-213.

- Massi P, Vaccani A, Bianchessi S, Costa B, Macchi P, Parolaro D. The non-psychoactive cannabidiol triggers caspase activation and oxidative stress in human glioma cells. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Sep;63(17):2057-66.

- Viganò D, Rubino T, Vaccani A, Bianchessi S, Marmorato P, Castiglioni C, Parolaro D. Molecular mechanisms involved in the asymmetric interaction between cannabinoid and opioid systems. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005 Nov;182(4):527-36. 

- Rubino T, Forlani G, Viganò D, Zippel R, Parolaro D. Ras/ERK signalling in cannabinoid tolerance: from behaviour to cellular aspects. J Neurochem. 2005 May;93(4):984-91. 

- Vaccani A, Massi P, Colombo A, Rubino T, Parolaro D. Cannabidiol inhibits human glioma cell migration through a cannabinoid receptor-independent mechanism. Br J Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;144(8):1032-6. 


- Massi P, Vaccani A, Parolaro D. Cannabinoids, immune system and cytokine network. Curr Pharm Des. 2006;12(24):3135-46.

- Parolaro D, Viganò D, Rubino T. Endocannabinoids and drug dependence. Curr Drug Targets CNS Neurol Disord. 2005 Dec;4(6):643-55.

- Viganò D, Rubino T, Parolaro D. Molecular and cellular basis of cannabinoid and opioid interactions. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005 Jun;81(2):360-8.

Book chapters:

- Parolaro D., Rubino T. Cannabinoids and drug of abuse. In: Cannabinoids as therapeutics. (ed. R. Mechoulam) Birkhauser Verlag: Basel 2005; pp.207-218.

- Massi P., Vaccani A., Parolaro D. Cannabinoids and immune system. In: Recent advances in pharmacology and physiology of cannabinoids. (ed. T. Wenger) Research signpost: Kerala 2004; pp. 119-137.
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