Neuroendocrinology and Aging

Claudia Cavadas

Cláudia Cavadas

PhD, Group Leader

The Mission of Neuroendocrinology and Aging Group is to contribute to develop new knowledge in the aging field, namely to demonstrate that neuroendocrine system and related mechanisms can be targeted in experimental models to delay, stop, and in some examples, reverse manifestations of aging and age-related disorders.

The knowledge generated by our group has been contributing to the hypothesis that aging and age-related disorders could be controlled by using neuroendocrine strategies. These strategies are based on targeting the main brain area involved in the neuroendocrine system - the hypothalamus -, its main functions (circadian rhythm, sleep, food intake, metabolism), and also the hypothalamus-periphery axis.


  1. To investigate the neuroendocrine axis contribution to ageing and age-related disorders;
  2. To investigate new strategies to delay aging and age-related disorders by targeting the hypothalamus or by targeting hypothalamic related mechanisms;
  3. To use caloric restriction mimetic approaches, as neuropeptides, new sirtuins-1 activators, circadian rhythm reestablishment to prevent aging and age-related diseases or disabilities (metabolism dysfunction, osteoarthrite (OA), sleep dysfunctions, neurodegenerative diseases);
  4. To understand if and how obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia or obesity induce or accelerate molecular mechanisms of ageing.

The group members have complementary expertise: establishment of cellular and animal models of aging and age-related disorders (progeria, neurodegenerative disorders, OSA, OA, insomnia, metabolic dysfunction and obesity), evaluation of physiology, cellular and molecular aging markers (namely autophagy, senescence, inflammation), gene transfer approaches, circadian rhythm analysis, medicinal chemistry and histopathological methodologies. Moreover, the group has expertise to organize pre-clinical studies and public engagement activities.

Group Members

Group Members

Group members are: Claudia Cavadas (PhD, Group Leader), Alexandrina Ferreira Mendes (Principal Investigator,), Ana Catarina da Silva Franco (MSc), Ana dos Santos Carvalho (PhD), Ana Maria Ferreira Capitão (PhD), Ana Rita C. S. Álvaro (PhD), Ana Teresa de Barros Viegas (PhD), Bárbara Vicente dos Santos (MSc), Catarina Carvalhas Almeida (MSc Fellow), Cátia Sousa (PhD Student), Célia Aveleira (PhD), Daniela Cristina G. Costa (MSc Fellow), Dina Pereira (PhD), Eliana Rita Barbosa (MSc Student), Fernando Judas (MD, PhD), Gabriela dos Santos Moço (MSc Student), Helena Leal (PhD Student), Inês Rodrigues (MSc Student), Laetitia da Silva Gaspar (PhD Student), Maria Manuel Silva (Principal Investigator), Marisa Ferreira-Marques (PhD Student), Rodolfo Águas (MSc Fellow), Rodrigo Ribeiro (PhD Student), Sara Carmo Silva (PhD), Vasco de Almeida Lucas (MSc).

Selected Publications

Aveleira CA, Ferreira-Marques M, Cortes L, Valero J, Pereira D, Pereira de Almeida L, Cavadas C. Neuropeptide Y Enhances Progerin Clearance and Ameliorates the Senescent Phenotype of Human Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome Cells. (2020) J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci.;75(6):1073-1078. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz280.

Gaspar L.S., Álvaro A.R., Carmo-Silva S., Mendes A.F., Relógio A., Cavadas C. (2019). The importance of determining circadian parameters in pharmacological studies. Br J Pharmacol, 176(16):2827-2847. doi: 10.1111/bph.14712.

Carmo-Silva S., Nobrega C., Pereira de Almeida L., Cavadas C. (2017). Unraveling the Role of Ataxin-2 in Metabolism. Trends Endocrinol Metab, 28(4):309-318. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2016.12.006.

Gaspar L.S., Álvaro A.R., Moita J., Cavadas C. (2017). Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Hallmarks of Aging. Trends Mol Med, 23(8):675-692. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2017.06.006.

Cavadas C., Aveleira C.A., Souza G.F., Velloso L.A. (2016). The pathophysiology of defective proteostasis in the hypothalamus - from obesity to ageing. Nat Rev Endocrinol, 12(12):723-733. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2016.107.

Aveleira C.A., Botelho M., Cavadas C. (2015). NPY/neuropeptide Y enhances autophagy in the hypothalamus: a mechanism to delay aging? Autophagy, 11(8):1431-3. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2015.1062202.

Cunha-Santos J., Duarte-Neves J., Carmona V., Guarente L., Pereira de Almeida L., Cavadas C. (2016). Caloric restriction blocks neuropathology and motor deficits in Machado-Joseph disease mouse models through SIRT1 pathway. Nat Commun, 7:11445. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11445.

Ferreira-Marques M., Aveleira C.A., Carmo-Silva S., Botelho M., Pereira de Almeida L., Cavadas C. (2016). Caloric restriction stimulates autophagy in rat cortical neurons through neuropeptide Y and ghrelin receptors activation. Aging (Albany NY), 8(7):1470-84. doi: 10.18632/aging.100996.

Aveleira C.A., Botelho M., Carmo-Silva S., Pascoal J.F., Ferreira-Marques M., Nóbrega C., Cortes L., Valero J., Sousa-Ferreira L., Álvaro A.R, Santana M., Kügler S., Pereira de Almeida L., Cavadas C. (2015). Neuropeptide Y stimulates autophagy in hypothalamic neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112(13):E1642-51. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1416609112.

Botelho M, Cavadas C. Neuropeptide Y: An Anti-Aging Player? (2015) Trends Neurosci. 38(11):701-711. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2015.08.012.

Selected Projects

NiNjA - New Neuroendocrine strategy for healthy Aging. FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. PI: Claudia Cavadas, Co-PI: Célia Aveleira.

noOSAnoAGEING - Obstructive Sleep Apnea early diagnosis as a new strategy to delay ageing. FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. PI: Ana Rita Álvaro; Co-PI: Claudia Cavadas; Co-PI: Célia Aveleira.

Neuroendocrine strategies to delay aging - Nutrient sensing and food intake as intervention strategies WP5. COMPETE 2020. PI of WP: Cláudia Cavadas.

CARTILFACTORY - Development and Construction of an Automated Large Scale Manufacturing System for Cartilage Engineering Combining 3D Electroplating of Chondrocytes and 3D Cellular Expansion with Mechanical Stimulation in Bioreactor. COMPETE 2020. PI of WP: Alexandrina F Mendes.

COST Action: An integrative action for multidisciplinary studies on cellular structural networks. COST Action. National representative: Cláudia Cavadas.

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