Research Divisions

Brain Ageing and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Group LeaderLocation and ContactMembersHistory of the groupLines of ResearchNotable PublicationsProjectsPhD ThesesClinical TrialsPatents and TrademarksNews
Dr. Jorge Tolivia

Jorge Luis Tolivia Fernández

Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud. Laboratorio 8.2

Julián Clavería s/n, 33206 Oviedo, Spain.

Name Organisation Activity Euraxess classification
Astudillo González, Aurora FINBA Research/Clinical/Teaching R3
del Valle Suárez, Eva Universidad de Oviedo Research/Teaching R3
Junceda Antuña, Susana SESPA Research/Clinical R2
Martínez Pinilla, Eva Universidad de Oviedo Research/Teaching R3
Navarro Incio, Ana María Universidad de Oviedo Research/Teaching R3
Rubio Sardón, Nuria Universidad de Oviedo Research R1
Tolivia Fernández, Jorge Luis Universidad de Oviedo Research/Teaching R3
García Álvarez, Enrique NA Research NC (Collaborator)

ISPA staff from the Brain Ageing and Neurodegenerative Diseases research group

Our group has been researching how the nervous systems of humans and laboratory animals age for over twenty years. Most of our current work explores the role of apolipoproteins (particularly apo D), always with a focus on the central nervous system, ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. We have tackled questions concerning the characterisation and role of apolipoproteins using a range of multidisciplinary approaches . Apolipoprotein D (apo D), together with apo E and apo J, are glycoproteins which are unique among the apolipoproteins, because of their synthesis in the nerve tissue and their relationship with neurodegenerative diseases. Many studies suggest that both apo E and apo D are related to the transportation, storage and redistribution of brain lipids. Apo D, specifically, is considered to be a multi-ligand, multi-function protein, as it is believed to be able to connect different ligands, performing different functions according to the tissue in which it is found. Immunohistochemistry and hybrid cytochemistry h ave shown that apo D can be synthesised and secreted in the nervous system by astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, although marked neurons and periventricular cells have also been found. There is some evidence that the existence of positive marking in neurons may be related to their having survived any kind of cell damage (both chronic and acute). The synthesis and increase in marking of astrocytes and microglia may also be associated with the same events. We can hypothesise that the alteration of lipid metabolism during nerve damage processes may be responsible for the activation of glial cells and neuron death. The delayed uptake of derived lipoprotein particles may contribute to a deterioration in neuron survival. The over-expression of these apolipoproteins in neurodegenerative diseases and during ageing is probably related to their having a cytoprotective role, through remodelling and repair, and the fact that they form part of a series of molecular mechanisms that act to save neurons and glial cells.

Our NEUROBIOLOGY AND AGEING research team has recently been consolidated as a Universidad de Oviedo research group, after having been approved by ANECA (National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation), at the university’s request.

  • Development of new methods and techniques for qualitative and quantitative research on the nervous system and its associated pathologies.
  • The study of normal brain ageing in humans and animals. Neurodegenerative diseases, some of which are associated with the ageing process, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
  • The normal and pathological role of apolipoproteins in the central nervous system. This research focuses particularly on Apo D in nerve demyelination and remyelination processes, and the implications for multiple sclerosis.
  • Cannabinoids and their receptors in a cell model of cuprizone-induced toxicity (multiple sclerosis).
  • The role of iron metabolism in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  1. AUTHORS: Ganfornina MD, Do Carmo S, Martínez E, Tolivia J, Navarro A, Rassart E, Sanchez D
    TITLE: ApoD, a glia-derived apolipoprotein, is required for peripheral nerve functional integrity and a timely response to injury
    RE: Glia. 2010 Aug 15; 58 (11):1320-34. A Q1 (NEUROSCIENCES in ISI); Q1 (IMMUNOLOGY en Scopus)
    YEAR: 2010
  2. AUTHORS: Ordoñez C., Navarro A., Martínez E., del Valle, E. Tolivia J.
    TITLE: Gender differences in apolipoprotein D expression during aging and in Alzheimer Disease
    RE: Neurobiology of Aging 2011 Mar 21. (Epub ahead of print) A Q1 (NEUROSCIENCES en ISI); Q1 (GERIATRICS & GERONTOLOGY en ISI); Q1 (AGING en Scopus)
    YEAR: 2011
  3. AUTHORS: Navarro A, Alonso A, Garrido P, González C, González Del Rey C, Ordoñez C, Tolivia J
    TITLE: Increase in placental apolipoprotein D as an adaptation to human gestational diabetes
    RE: Placenta. 2010 Jan;31(1):25-31. Epub 2009 Nov 26. A Q1 (OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY en ISI)
    YEAR: 2010
  4. AUTHORS: Navarro A, Del Valle E, Juárez A, Martinez E, Ordóñez C, Astudillo A, Tolivia J
    TITLE: Apolipoprotein D synthesis progressively increases in frontal cortex during human lifespan. Age (Dordr)
    RE: 2010 Mar;32(1):85-96. Q1 (GERIATRICS & GERONTOLOGY en ISI); Q1 (AGING en Scopus)
    YEAR: 2010
  5. AUTHORS: Moreno M, Ordoñez P, Alonso A, Díaz F, Tolivia J, González C.
    TITLE: Chronic 17beta-estradiol treatment improves skeletal muscle insulin signalling pathway components in insulin resistance associated with aging.
    RE: Age (Dordr). 2010 Mar;32(1):1-13. Epub 2009 May 22. (A) Q1 (GERIATRICS & GERONTOLOGY en ISI); Q1 (AGING en Scopus)
    YEAR: 2010
  6. AUTHORS: Navarro A, Ordoñez C, Martínez E, Pérez C, Astulillo A, Tolivia J.
    TITLE: Apolipoprotein D expression absence in degenerating neurons of human central nervous system.
    RE: Histology and Histopathology, 23: 995-1001 (2008). (A) Q2 (PATHOLOGY en ISI); Q1 (HISTOLOGY en Scopus)
    YEAR: 2008
  7. AUTHORS: Alonso A, Moreno M, Ordóñez P, Fernández R, Pérez C, Díaz F, Navarro A, Tolivia J, González C.
    TITLE: Chronic estradiol treatment improves brain homeostasis during aging in female rats.
    RE: Endocrinology. Jan;149(1):57-72. Epub 2007 Sep 27. (A) Q1 (ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM en ISI); Q1 (ENDOCRINOLOGY en Scopus)
    YEAR: 2008

National projects

  1. Apolipoprotein D in demyelination and remyelination processes: the implications for multiple sclerosis (FISS-16-PI15/00601)
  2. Intrauterine life and the development of cardiometabolic disease: from biomarkers in the umbilical cord to intermediate phenotypes in the paediatric stages (CN-14-060)
  3. Research into pathological ocular anatomy (CENIT-09-IOFTALFVEGA-2)

Universidad de Oviedo research grants

  1. Apolipoprotein D in demyelination and remyelination processes : the implications for multiple sclerosis (UNOV-12-MA-04)
  2. Neurodegeneration caused by global cerebral ischaemia: research on the role of apolipoproteins (UNOV-11-MA-16)


  1. Donations to the Instituto Universitario de Oncología del Principado de Asturias (IUOPA) (FUO-047-16)
  2. IUOPA (FUO-EM-283-08)


Epigenetic alterations of histones in childhood leukaemias: treatment with epigenetic drugs (SV-11-AECC-1)