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Yasco  Aracava

Yasco Aracava Ph.D.

Academic Title: Research Associate
Primary Appointment: Epidemiology & Public Health
Additional Title(s): Division of Translational Toxicology
Location: MSTF, 9th floor, Suite 900A
Lab: (410) 706-3563

Personal History:

I have B.S. degree in Pharmacy and Biochemistry from the University of São Paulo School of Pharmacy, Ph.D. degree in Physiology/Pharmacology from University of São Paulo and Post-Doctoral training from University of Maryland School of Medicine with Dr. E.X. Albuquerque. I held faculty positions in pharmacology/physiology at private Medical Schools, at University of São Paulo and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Research Interests:

For over 30 years I have been working in the field of peripheral and brain nicotinic receptors and cholinesterase inhibitors.  I developed my expertise in electrophysiological patch clamp and whole-cell clamp recording from both skeletal muscle fibers and hippocampal culture cells and slices. I have trained many graduate students in this technique at the University of Maryland and in Brazil at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In the laboratory of Dr. Albuquerque, we have studied the actions of many therapeutically relevant compounds and toxins as tools to unveil the function of the nicotinic receptors. We studied the actions of galantamine, the anti-cholinesterase agent, on the nicotinic receptor as the molecular target to improve the conditions of patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease.

In the field of the anti-cholinesterase drugs, including those used as antidotes, such as galantamine, physostigmine, pyridostigmine and the organophosphorus (OP) nerve agents and pesticides we have studied their actions on both nicotinic and glutamatergic receptors and the toxicity in whole animal models. For that, I am responsible for the dosing and FOB (functional observational battery) analysis in laboratory animals exposed to OP agents. Also, I have developed skills in the implant of devices such as micro infusion pump for automated and controlled drug delivery and EEG telemetry implant to record EEG signals from freely moving animals as well as I have expertise on the analyses of the EEG signals. I am an active collaborator in many Dr Albuqurque's research projects, more recently in the BARDA and NIH-SBIR grants to determine the efficacy of galantamine as antidote against nerve agent poisoning and NIH-MultiPI grant in which we proposed to determine the toxicity of the pesticide chlorpyrofos to pregnant and offspring using rats or guinea pigs as the model.


Selected peer-reviewed publications

  1. Santos MD, Alkondon M, Pereira EF, Aracava Y, Eisenberg HM, Maelicke A, Albuquerque EX. The nicotinic allosteric potentiating ligand galantamine facilitates synaptic transmission in the mammalian central nervous system. Mol Pharmacol. 2002 May;61(5):1222-34.
  2. Santos MD, Pereira EF, Aracava Y, Castro NG, Fawcett WP, Randall WR, Albuquerque EX. Low concentrations of pyridostigmine prevent soman-induced inhibition of GABAergic transmission in the central nervous system: involvement of muscarinic receptors. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003 Jan;304(1):254-65.
  3. Santos HR, Cintra WM, Aracava Y, Maciel CM, Castro NG, Albuquerque EX. Spine density and dendritic branching pattern of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons in neonatal rats chronically exposed to the organophosphate paraoxon. Neurotoxicology. 2004 Mar;25(3):481-94.
  4. Aracava Y, Pereira EF, Maelicke A, Albuquerque EX. Memantine blocks alpha7* nicotinic acetylcholine receptors more potently than n-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in rat hippocampal neurons. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2005 Mar;312(3):1195-205.
  5. Albuquerque EX, Pereira EFR, Aracava Y, Fawcett WP, Oliveira M, Randall WR, Hamilton TA, Kan RK, Romano Jr. JA, Adler M. An effective countermeasure against poisoning by organophosphorus insecticides and nerve agents. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103: 13220-13225, 2006. PMID: 16914529
  6. Aracava Y, Pereira EFR, Akkerman M, Adler M, Albuquerque EX. Effectiveness of donepezil, rivastigmine and (±)huperzine A in counteracting the acute toxicity of organophosphorus nerve agents: Comparison with galantamine. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 331:1014-1024, 2009. PMID: 19741148
  7. Fawcett WP, Aracava Y, Pereira EFR, Albuquerque EX. Acute toxicity of organophosphorus compounds in guinea pigs is sex and age dependent and cannot be solely accounted for by acetylcholinesterase inhibition. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 328:516-524, 2009. PMID: 18984651
  8. Alkondon M, Aracava Y, Pereira EF, Albuquerque EX. A single in vivo application of cholinesterase inhibitors has neuron type-specific effects on nicotinic receptor activity in guinea pig hippocampus. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009 Jan;328(1):69-82.
  9. Gullapalli R, Aracava Y, Zhuo J, Neto EH, Wang J, Makris G, Merchenthaler I, Pereira EFR, Albuquerque EX.  Magnetic resonance imaging reveals that galantamine prevents structural brain damage induced by an acute exposure of guinea pigs to soman. Neurotoxicology 31:67-76, 2010.
  10. Mamczarz J, Pereira EFR, Aracava Y, Adler M, Albuquerque EX. An acute exposure to a sub-lethal dose of soman triggers anxiety-related behavior in guinea pigs: interactions with acute restraint. Neurotoxicology 31:77-84, 2010.
  11. Pereira EF, Aracava Y, DeTolla LJ Jr, Beecham EJ, Basinger GW Jr, Wakayama EJ, Albuquerque EX Animal models that best reproduce the clinical manifestations of human intoxication with organophosphorus compounds. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 350:313-21, 2014.
  12. Alexandrova EA, Alkondon M, Aracava Y, Pereira EF, Albuquerque EX Galantamine prevents long-lasting suppression of excitatory synaptic transmission in CA1 pyramidal neurons of soman-challenged guinea pigs. Neurotoxicology 44:270-8, 2014.

Select publications in PubMed.