The glymphatic system refers to perivascular cerebrospinal fluid flow through the brain that clears the brain of metabolic products during natural sleep and by certain anaesthetic agents. Recent preclinical studies have shown that glymphatic influx of cerebrospinal fluid flow into the brain can be enhanced via multiple pharmacologic interventions. This approach opens an avenue to improve the CNS delivery of drugs administered into the cerebrospinal fluid. We are using molecular imaging techniques such as single-photon emission tomography in preclinical study settings to explore how to enhance central nervous system drug delivery via the glymphatic pathway.
In addition to pharmacokinetic studies, we are actively studying how to improve glymphatic efflux of metabolic products. These are known to accumulate in several neurodegenerative diseases and have been hypothesized to contribute to conditions such as delirium or pain. We study the functioning of the glymphatic system in preclinical models of chronic pain and whether chronic pain could be alleviated with the use of known glymphatic enhancers. Further, we will study the glymphatic enhancers and their influence on physiological brain pulsations using functional magnetic resonance imaging in human volunteers in close collaboration with anaesthesiologists, physicists, radiologists and clinical neurophysiologists of the Helsinki University Hospital, Oulu University Hospital and Turku University Hospital.
We participate in a collaborative project with researchers of the Aalto University to develop an electrochemical sensor for point-of-care measurement of drug concentrations from capillary blood. This minimally invasive, fast, and simple tool is appealing for various applications of healthcare. For example, healthcare workers in the field of emergency medicine would welcome a fast tool for fast diagnosis of poisonings, enabling them to start a specific antidote and transfer the patient to the most appropriate facility for further treatment. As the entire pharmacologic industry is moving towards personalized drug therapy, methods enabling real-time measurement of drug concentrations become even more relevant. Recently, our work has focused on the rapid detection and quantification of paracetamol, morphine, and oxycodone from finger-prick samples.
We are interested to understand the beneficial and undesired effects of drug-drug interactions in healthy individuals to improve management of pain and to better understand the interplay between the different components of general anaesthesia. These studies are conducted in close collaboration with researchers at the Department of Clinical Pharmacology in the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital who have decades of experience in pharmacokinetic interaction studies.
Read more: Lohela et al. 2021
We are constantly looking for postdoctoral researchers, PhD student and master students interested in neuropharmacology to join our multidisciplinary group.