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‘’Electron Microscopy’’ lab  

Principal Investigator: Prof. Patrizia PROCACCI

Members: Dott. Vincenzo CONTE - TA

               Prof. Maria LEDDA

The group’s research activity is focused on:


The study aims to define the best experimental conditions to promote peripheral nerve regeneration through the use of artificial guides as an alternative to the autologous nerve grafting and simultaneously to inhibit the muscle wasting that inevitably affects the muscles affected by traumatic events, thus more at risk of denervation, preventing their functional recovery

Currently, the research has its primary focus on two major research lines:

1) Peripheral nerve regeneration in an animal model "leg / sciatic nerve." Nerve regeneration, facilitated by the use of biodegradable and functionalized scaffolds as tool for drug delivery, is assessed performing either morphological evaluations, and morphometric analysis. (In collaboration with Dipartimento di Chimica Organica e Industriale, UNIMI; Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, UNIMI; Dipartimento Scienze dell’Ambiente e della Vita Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”, UPMN, Alessandria).

Project supported by the Fondazione Cariplo

2) Evaluation of morphological changes occurring in skeletal muscles after denervation and after morpho-functional recovery as a result of induction of reinnervation. (In collaboration with Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Centro Interdipartimentale in Neuroscienze (NIT), UNITO; Dipartimento di Meccanica, Politecnico di Torino; Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, UNIMI; Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute-S: Donato, UNIMI).


Within the dorsal root ganglia satellite glial cells are arranged around the sensory neurons to form a thin sheath and completely separating from the neighboring perineuronal glial sheaths by interstitial connective tissue of the ganglion. Satellite glial cells are functionally coupled by gap junctions. Glial coupling play an important role in the control of the perineuronal micro-environment which is involved in the metabolism of the neuron and in the transmission of signals. Any change in the number of such junctions could be related to their involvement in the generation and/or maintenance of pain.

Currently, the research has its primary focus on a major research line:

1) Identification by the TEM of gap junctions between the satellite glial cells in mouse spinal ganglia following an inflammation induced at the lower limb. Estimation of the incidence and extension of such junctions and evaluation of any change of glial sheaths. (In collaboration with Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem).


Recent/relevant Publications

PROCACCI P., MAGNAGHI V., PANNESE E. Perineuronal satellite cells in mouse spinal ganglia express the gap junction protein connexin43 throughout life with decline in old age. Brain Research Bulletin, 2008, 75 (5) 562-569.

CAPITANIO D., VASSO M., FANIA C., MORIGGI M., VIGANÒ A., PROCACCI P., MAGNAGHI V., GELFI C. Comparative proteomic profile of rat sciatic nerve and gastrocnemius muscle tissues in ageing by 2-D DIGE. Proteomics, 2009, 9 (7): 2004-2020.

MAGNAGHI V., CONTE V., PROCACCI P., PIVATO G., CORTESE P:, CAVALLI E., PAJARDI G., RANUCCI E., FENILI F., MANFREDI A., FERRUTI P. Biological performance of a novel biodegradable polyamidoamine hydrogel as guide for peripheral nerve regeneration. Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A. - ISSN 1549-3296. - ISSN 1552-4965. - 98:1(2011), pp. 19-30.

PROCACCI P, BALLABIO M, CASTELNOVO LF, MANTOVANI C, MAGNAGHI V. GABA-B receptors in the PNS have a role in Schwann cells differentiation? Frontiers in Neuroscience (2012), 6:68.PMID: 23335881

MAURO N, MANFREDI A, RANUCCI E, PROCACCI P, LAUS M, ANTONIOLI D, MANTOVANI C, MAGNAGHI V, FERRUTI P. Degradable Poly(amidoamine) Hydrogels as Scaffolds for In Vitro Culturing of Peripheral Nervous System Cells. Macromolecular Bioscience (2013), 13, 332-47. 13. doi: 10.1002/mabi.201200354.



Prof.ssa Patrizia PROCACCI: tel. 02-50314662, email patrizia.procacci@unimi.it

Dott. Vincenzo Conte: tel. 02-50314668, email vincenzo.conte@unimi.it

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