Jessenius Faculty of Medicine
in Martin
Comenius University in Bratislava

Science and research

In the past, Institute of Histology and Embryology was interested in research of structure and ultrastructure of peripheral nerve system. There were studied changes of peripheral nerves caused by mechanical injuries, ischemia and diabetes mellitus. Numerous unique results were published in international journals.

The research efforts currently focus on changes of apoptotic regulation in both malignant and non-malignant lesions using immunohistochemical approaches. Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAP) are one of the major research interests in our laboratory. Survivin apperars to be a member of the IAP family which has a number of distinct features that it does not share with other members of this family. E. g. survivin is localized in different subcellular compartments, it is highly expressed in malignant tumors but very rarely is detectable in normal differentiated adult tissues. Therefore, survivin appears to become an excellent novel target for cancer treatment but from practical point of view is important marker for cancer diagnosis, prognosis and prevention as well.

Based on these facts, we currently study survivin as diagnostic biomarker in normal tissues, premalignant lesions and their malignant counterparts.

Another field of study is the experimetally-induced pathological changes in the brain and spinal cord after exposure to clinically relevant doses of ionizing radiation. Following cranial exposure of experimantal rats to fractionated doses of ionizing radiation, subacute to late radiation changes are induced in brain and spinal cord tissue. In brain tissue, we focus primarily on neurogenic regions that are more radiosensitive than other regions because of persistant proliferation. Initiated histopathological, biochemical and cognitive changes in the brain and spinal cord are detected using a wide range of screening methods such as histochemical and immunofluorescent staining, in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and behavioral testing. We publish the results of our studies mainly in foreign scientific papers, registered in Current Contents Connect.

Our department focuses also on the modulation of experimentally induced hyperhomocysteinemia and the response of neural tissue to the ischemia-reperfusion injury in laboratory animals. It is a model of brain ischemia in tissues previously exposed to the toxic effects of homocysteine. By selected experiments we mimic the clinically frequent occurrence of brain ischemia in the association with elevated plasma homocysteine levels. In our studies, we observe changes in nerve tissue at histomorphological, immunohistochemical and molecular levels. We also focus on the degree of cognitive functions impairment as well as on monitoring the level of metabolites and the volume of sensitive areas of the animals´ brain. The results of our studies are regularly published in the current content journals.