Silvana Gaetani
Silvana Gaetani
Associate Professor
  • :+39 06 4991 2520
  • :+39 06 4991 2480

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Sapienza University of Rome


Ph.D in Pharmacology “Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics” (March 2003). University of Bari Italy, School of Medicine
Master of Science in Biological Sciences magna cum laude (March 1998) University of Lecce Italy, School of Biology



Research Interest

Professional Activities:

Awards and honors

  1. Short-Term Fellowship for Specialized Studies Abroad, Italian Society of Pharmacology, Italy, 2000.
  2. NIDA-IUPHAR Travel Award, 2005
  3. Selected Researcher for “Atomium Culture: the permanent platform for European excellence”, 2008

Other academic activities

  • Member of the Board of Professors of the Ph.D Program in Toxicology (2006-present)
  • Member of the Didactic Committee of the Master Course in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Sapienza University of Rome (2008-present)
  • Elected Member of the Advisory board of the Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer”, Sapienza University of Rome (2009-2012)
  • Member of Research Committee of Sapienza University of Rome (2011-2012)


  • Chair of the Scientific Organizing Committee of the Workshop of the Italian Society of Pharmacology: “Behavioral and metabolic aspects of obesity and eating disorders”, Rome March 17th, 2007
  • Chair of the Scientific Organizing Committee of the Workshop of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society: “Eating Behaviour and obesity, Lecce,  7-9 September 2012
  • Co-Chair and co-organizer of the Symposium “New research on neurodegeneration: time to translate it to clinic?” at the meeting of the Italian Society of Pharmacology, Torino 2014.
  • Academic editor for the Journal “Plos One” (since 2008)
  • Associate Editor for the journal “Frontiers in Pharmacology, section Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery” (since 2013)
  • Guest editor for the special issue of the Journal “Behavioural Pharmacology” titled “Pharmacological Approaches to Feeding Behaviour and Eating Disorders” (2012)
  • Topic editor for the special issue of the journal “Frontiers in Pharmacology Research” titled “Preclinical and clinical issues in Alzheimer’s disease drug research and development” (2013)
  • Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal “Behavioural Pharmacology” (2012-2014)
  • Referee for the following Journals: Peptides, Neuropharmacology, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Psychopharmacology, The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Pharmacological Research, European Neuropsychopharmacology, The International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Journal of Medicinal Food.



  1. Trabace L, Coluccia A, Gaetani S, Tattoli M, Cagiano R, Pietra C, Kendrick KM, Cuomo V. In vivo neurochemical effects of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor ENA713 in rat hippocampus. Brain Research 2000 865(2):268-71.
  2. Tattoli M, Cagiano R, Gaetani S, Ghiglieri V, Giustino A, Mereu G, Trabace L, Cuomo V. Neurofunctional effects of developmental alcohol exposure in alcohol-preferring and alcohol-nonpreferring rats. Neuropsychopharmacology 2001 24(6):691-705.
  3. Rodriguez de Fonseca F, Navarro M, Gomez R, Escuredo L, Nava F, Fu J, Murillo-Rodriguez E, Giuffrida A, LoVerme J, Gaetani S, Kathuria S, Gall C, Piomelli D. An anorexic lipid mediator regulated by feeding. Nature 2001 414(6860):209-12.
  4. Cagiano R, Cassano T, Coluccia A, Gaetani S, Giustino A, Steardo L, Tattoli M, Trabace L, Cuomo V. Genetic factors involved in the effects of developmental low-level alcohol induced behavioral alterations in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology 2002 26(2):191-203.
  5. Kathuria S, Gaetani S, Fegley D, Valino F, Duranti A, Tontini A, Mor M, Tarzia G, Rana GL, Calignano A, Giustino A, Tattoli M, Palmery M, Cuomo V, Piomelli D. Modulation of anxiety through blockade of anandamide hydrolysis. Nature Medicine 2003 9(1):76-81.
  6. Gaetani S, Oveisi F and Piomelli D. Modulation of meal pattern in the rat by the anorexic lipid mediator oleoylethanolamide. Neuropsychopharmacology 2003 28(7):1311-6.
  7. Fu J, Gaetani S, Oveisi F, Lo Verme J, Serrano A, Rodriguez De Fonseca F, Rosengarth A, Luecke H, Di Giacomo B, Tarzia G, Piomelli D. Oleylethanolamide regulates feeding and body weight through activation of the nuclear receptor PPAR-alpha. Nature 2003 425(6953):90-3.
  8. Gaetani S, Cuomo V, Piomelli D. Anandamide hydrolysis: a new target for anti-anxiety drugs? Trends in Molecular Medicine 2003 9(11):474-8.
  9. Oveisi F, Gaetani S, Eng KTP,Piomelli D Oleoylethanolamide inhibits food intake in free-feeding rats after oral administration. Pharmacological Research 2004 49(5):461-466.
  10. Fegley D, Gaetani S, Duranti A, Tontini A, Mor M, Tarzia G, Piomelli D Characterization of the fatty-acid amide hydrolase inhibitor URB597: Effects on anandamide and oleoylethanolamide deactivation. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 2005 313(1):352-8
  11. LoVerme J, Gaetani S, Fu J, Oveisi F, Burton K and Piomelli D Regulation of food intake by oleoylethanolamide CMLS, Cellular and Molecular Life Science 2005 62(6):708-16
  12. Fu J, Oveisi F, Gaetani S, Lin E, Piomelli D. Oleoylethanolamide, an endogenous PPAR-alpha agonist, lowers body weight and hyperlipidemia in obese rats. Neuropharmacology. 2005 48(8):1147-53
  13. Astarita G, Di Giacomo B, Gaetani S, Oveisi F, Compton TR, Rivara S, Tarzia G, Mor M, Piomelli D. Pharmacological characterization of hydrolysis-resistant analogs of oleoylethanolamide with potent anorexiant properties. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.  2006 318(2):563-70
  14. Loverme J, Guzman M, Gaetani S, Piomelli D. Cold exposure stimulates synthesis of the bioactive lipid oleoylethanolamide in rat adipose tissue. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2006 281(32):22815-8
  15. Fu J, Astarita G, Gaetani S, Kim J, Cravatt BF, Mackie K, Piomelli D. Food intake regulates oleoylethanolamide formation and degradation in the proximal small intestine. Journal of Biological Chemistry2007 282(2):1518-28
  16. Campolongo P, Trezza V, Cassano T, Gaetani S, Morgese MG, Ubaldi M, Soverchia L, Antonelli T, Ferraro L, Massi M, Ciccocioppo R, Cuomo V. Perinatal exposure to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol causes enduring cognitive deficits associated with alteration of cortical gene expression and neurotransmission in rats. Addiction Biology. 2007 12(3-4):485-95
  17. Castaldo P, Magi S, Gaetani S, Cassano T, Ferraro L, Antonelli T, Amoroso S, Cuomo V. Prenatal exposure to the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 increases glutamate uptake through overexpression of GLT1 and EAAC1 glutamate transporter subtypes in rat frontal cerebral cortex. Neuropharmacology. 2007 53(3):369-78
  18. Trezza V, Campolongo P, Cassano T, MachedaT, Dipasquale P, Carratù MR, Gaetani S, Cuomo V. Psychopharmacology 2008, 198(4):529-37
  19. Gaetani S, Kaye W, Cuomo V, Piomelli D. Role of endocannabinoids and their analogues in obesity and eating disorders. Eating and weight disorders 2008, 13(3):e42-8
  20. Schwartz GJ, Fu J, Astarita G, Xiaosong Li1, Gaetani S, Campolongo P, Cuomo V, Piomelli D. The lipid messenger OEA links dietary fat intake to satiety. Cell Metabolism. 2008, 8(4):281-8
  21. Morgese MG, Cassano T, Gaetani S, Macheda T, Laconca L, Dipasquale P, Ferraro L, Antonelli T, Cuomo V, Giuffrida A. Neurochemical changes in the striatum of dyskinetic rats after administration of the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2. Neurochemistry International 2009 54(1):56-64
  22. Ferraro L, Tomasini Mc, Tanganelli S, Mazza R, Coluccia A, Carratu' MR, Gaetani S, Cuomo V, Antonelli T. Developmental exposure to methylmercury elicits early cell death in the cerebral cortex and long-term memory deficits in the rat. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 2009 27: 165–174
  23. Celentano M, Caprioli D, Di Pasquale P, Cardillo V, Nencini P, Gaetani S, Badiani A. Drug context differently regulates cocaine versus heroin self-administration and cocaine- versus heroin-induced Fos mRNA expression in the rat. Psychopharmacology 2009, 204(2):349-60
  24. Antonelli T, Tomasini MC, Mazza R, Fuxe K, Gaetani S, Cuomo V, Tanganelli S, Ferraro L. Cannabinoid CB1 and Cholecystokinin CCK2 receptors modulate, in an opposing way, electrically-evoked [3H]GABA efflux from rat cerebral cortex cell cultures. Possible relevance for cortical GABA transmission and anxiety. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics2009, 329(2):708-17
  25. Gaetani S, Dipasquale P, Romano A, Righetti L, Cassano T, Piomelli D and Cuomo V. The endocannabinoid system as a target for novel anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs. International review of neurobiology 2009, 85: 57-72
  26. Cassano T*, Gaetani S*, Morgese MG, Macheda T, Laconca L, Dipasquale P, Taltavull J, Shippenberg TS, Cuomo V, Gobbi G Monoaminergic changes in locus coeruleus and dorsal raphe nucleus following noradrenaline depletion. Neurochemical research 2009 34(8):1417-26 *equal contribution
  27. Ferraro L, Tomasini MC, Beggiato S, Gaetani S, Cassano T, Cuomo V, Amoroso S, Tanganelli S, Antonelli T. Short- and long-term consequences of prenatal exposureto the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,212-2 on rat glutamate transmission and cognitive functions. Journal of neural transmission 2009, 116(8): 1017-27
  28. van Rijn CM, Gaetani S, Santolini I, Badura A, Gabova A, Fu J, Watanabe M, Cuomo V, van Luijtelaar G, Nicoletti F, and Ngomba RT Absence-seizure prone wag/rij rats show a reduced expression of cb1 receptors in thalamic nuclei and respond to the cb1 receptor agonist, r(+)win55,212-2, with a reduced incidence of spikeand-wave discharges. Epilepsia 2009 51(8):1511-21
  29. Gaetani S, Fu J, Cassano T, Dipasquale, Romano A, Righetti L, Cianci S, Laconca L, Giannini E, Scaccianoce S, Mairesse J, Cuomo V, and Piomelli D The fat-induced satiety factor OEA suppresses feeding through central release of oxytocin. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2010 30(24):8096-101
  30. Cassano T*, Gaetani S*, Macheda T, Laconca L, Romano A, Morgese MG, Cimmino CS, Chiarotti F, Bambico FR, Gobbi G, Cuomo V, and Piomelli D Evaluation of the emotional phenotype and serotonergic neurotransmission of fatty acid amide hydrolase-deficient mice. Psychopharmacology, 2011 214(2):465-76. *equal contribution
  31. Dipasquale P, Romano A, Cianci S, Righetti L, Gaetani S Oleoylethanolamide: a new player in energy metabolism control. Role in food intake Drug Discovery Today: Disease Mechanisms, 2010 7(3-4): e169-e174 
  32. Fu J, DiPatrizio NV, Guijarro A, Schwartz GJ, Li X, Gaetani S, Astarita G, Piomelli D Sympathetic activity controls fat-induced OEA signaling in small intestine Journal of Neuroscience 2011 31(15):5730-6
  33. Cassano T, Romano A, Macheda T, Colangeli R, Cimmino CS, Petrella A, LaFerla FM, Cuomo V, Gaetani S, Olfactory memory is impaired in a triple transgenic model of Alzheimer disease Behavioural Brain Research 2011, 31;224(2):408-12
  34. Trapani A, De Giglio E, Cafagna D, Denora N, Agrimi G, Cassano T, Gaetani S, Cuomo V, Trapani G. Characterization and evaluation of chitosan nanoparticles for dopamine brain delivery. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2011 419(1-2):296-307
  35. Cassano T, Serviddio G, Gaetani S, Romano A, Dipasquale P, Cianci S, Bellanti F, Laconca L, Romano AD, Padalino I, LaFerla FM, Nicoletti F, Cuomo V, Vendemiale V Glutamatergic alterations and mitochondrial impairment in a murine model of Alzheimer disease Neurobiology of Aging. 2012 33(6):1121.e1-12
  36. Mairesse J, Silletti V, Laloux C, Zuena AR, Giovine A, Consolazione M, van Camp G, Malagodi M, Gaetani S, Cianci S, Catalani A, Mennuni G, Mazzetta A, van Reeth O, Gabriel C, Mocaër E, Nicoletti F, Morley-Fletcher S, Maccari S. Chronic agomelatine treatment corrects the abnormalities in the circadian rhythm of motor activity and sleep/wake cycle induced by prenatal restraint stress in adult rats. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 2013 16(2):323-38
  37. Romano A, Cassano T, Tempesta B, Cianci S, Dipasquale P, Coccurello R, Cuomo V, Gaetani S. The satiety signal oleoylethanolamide stimulates oxytocin neurosecretion from rat hypothalamic neurons. Peptides. 2013 49C:21-26
  38. Romano A, Potes CS, Tempesta B, Cassano T, Cuomo V, Lutz T, Gaetani S. Hindbrain noradrenergic input to the hypothalamic PVN mediates the activation of oxytocinergic neurons induced by the satiety factor oleoylethanolamide. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism. 2013. 305(10):E1266-73
  39. Aureli C, Cassano T, Masci A, Francioso A, Martire S, Cocciolo A, Chichiarelli S, Romano A, Gaetani S, Mancini P, Fontana M, d'Erme M, Mosca L. 5-S-Cysteinyldopamine neurotoxicity: influence on the expression of alpha-Synuclein and of ERp57 in cellular and animal models of Parkison’s disease. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 2014 92(3):347-58
  40. Bedse G, Romano A, Cianci S, Lavecchia AM, Pace L, Elphick MR, LaFerla FM, Vendemiale G, Grillo C, Altieri F, Cassano T and Gaetani S. Altered expression of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimers Disease. 2014 40(3):701-12
  41. Schepisi C Cianci S, Bedse G, Fu J, Gaetani S, Nencini P. Differences in the structure of drinking, cart expression and dopamine turnover between polydipsic and non polydipsic rats in the quinpirole model of psychotic polydipsia. Psychopharmacology. 2014 231(19):3889-97
  42. Romano A, Coccurello R, Giacovazzo G, Bedse G, Moles A and Gaetani S. Oleoylethanolamide: a novel potential pharmacological alternative to cannabinoid antagonists for the control of appetite. BioMed Research International (formerly titled Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology) 2014 2014:203-425  
  43. Romano A, Karimian Azarib E, Tempesta B, Mansourib A, Micioni Di Bonaventura MV, Ramachandran D, Lutz TA, Bedse G, Langhans W, and Gaetani S. High dietary fat intake influences the activation of specific hindbrain and hypothalamic nuclei by the satiety factor oleoylethanolamide. Physiol Behav 2014 136:55-62.
  44. Karimian Azari E, Ramachandran D, Weibel S, Arnold M, Romano A, Gaetani S, Langhans W, and Mansouri A. Vagal afferents are not necessary for the satiety effect of the gut lipid messenger oleoylethanolamide (OEA). Am J Physiol-Reg I 2014 307(2):R167-78
  45. Bedse G, Colangeli R, Lavecchia AM, Romano A, Altieri F, Cifani C, Cassano T, Gaetani S. Role of the basolateral amygdala in mediating the effects of the fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor URB597 on HPA axis response to stress. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2014 24(9):1511-23 
  46. Provensi G, Munari L, Umehara H, Coccurello R, Giacovazzo G, Galeotti N, Nosi D, Gaetani S, Romano A, Moles A, Blandina P and Passani MB. The satiety factor oleoylethanolamide recruits the brain histaminergic system to inhibit food intake, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014, 111(31):11527-32  
  47. Micioni Di Bonaventura MV, Ciccocioppo R, Romano A, Bossert J, Rice K, Ubaldi M, St. Laurent R, Gaetani S, Massi M, Shaham Y, Cifani C. Role of bed nucleus of the stria terminalis corticotrophin-releasing factor receptors in frustration stress-induced binge-like palatable food consumption in female rats with a history of food restriction. Journal of Neuroscience 2014, 34:11316-24.  
  48. D'Addario C, Micioni Di Bonaventura MV, Pucci M, Romano A, Gaetani S, Ciccocioppo R, Cifani C, Maccarrone M. Endocannabinoid signaling and food addiction. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 47C:203-224  
  49. Michetti C, Romano E, Altabella L, Caruso A, Castelluccio P, Bedse G, Gaetani S, Canese R, Laviola G, Scattoni ML. Mapping pathological phenotypes in reelin mutant mice. Front Pediatr. 2014 2:95
  50. Mancuso C and Gaetani S. Preclinical and clinical issues in Alzheimer’s disease drug research and development. Front. Pharmacol. 2014 5:234
  51. Bedse G, Romano A, Lavecchia AM, Cassano T and Gaetani S. The role of endocannabinoid signaling in the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease 2015 43(4):1115-36
  52. Stoppoloni D, Politi L, Leopizzi M, Gaetani S, Guazzo R, Basciani S, Moreschini O, De Santi M, Scandurra R, Scotto d'Abusco A. Effect of glucosamine and its peptidyl-derivative on the production of extracellular matrix components by human primary chondrocytes. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 23(1):103-13
  53. Bedse G., Romano A., Tempesta B., Lavecchia M., Pace L., Bellomo A., Duranti A., Micioni di Bonaventura M.V., Cifani C., Cassano T., Gaetani S. Inhibition of anandamide hydrolysis enhances noradrenergic and GABAergic transmission in the prefrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala of rats subjected to acute swim stress. Journal of Neuroscience Research 2015 (in press)
  54. Romano A, Pace L, Tempesta B, Lavecchia AM, Macheda T, Bedse G, Petrella A, Vendemiale G, Gaetani S, Cassano T. Depressive-like behaviour is paired to monoaminergic alteration in a murine model of Alzheimer's disease. International journal of Neuropsycopharmacology 2014, doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyu020   
  55. Romano A, Tempesta B, Provensi G, Passani MB, Gaetani S. Central mechanisms mediating the hypophagic effects of oleoylethanolamide and N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines: different lipid signals? Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2015 6:137. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2015.00137.
  56. Giudetti AM, Romano A, Lavecchia AM, Gaetani S. The role of brain cholesterol and its oxidized products in Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research 2015 DOI: 10.2174/1567205012666150921103426