The French National Centre for Scientific Research

Pierrick Poisbeau

Pierrick Poisbeau
PREX1, IUF (h)

Research Activities

From the beginning of my career, my research activities are focused on the plasticity of inhibitory controls in the central nervous system. Initially trained as electrophysiologist, I have performed several studies on the fast GABAergic transmission in the hypothalamus, the hippocampal formation, the amygdala and the spinal cord. I have always been fascinated by the powerful role of neuroendocrine factors on brain function. In particular, we made pioneering work on the role of neurosteroids in shaping CNS inhibition during development, at adulthood and in pathological conditions. We are currently developing new approaches aimed at stimulating the synthesis of 3alpha-neurosteroids (such as allopregnanolone) which display potent anti-epileptic, anxiolytic and analgesic properties. More recently, we characterized the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in the control of spinal pain processing. Apart from their neurohormonal action, which we recently re-evaluated, they act as inhibitory neuromodulators in the spinal cord to limit nociceptive messages. We are currently studying the role of other neuropeptides with similar profile to better understand their role in physiological and pathological pain processing
To identifity homeostatic determinants of pain which could amplify CNS inhibition in order to compensate pathological disinhibition seen in chronic pain conditions, we implement a large variety of techniques ranging from the molecular/cellular biology approaches to the behavioral analysis of freely-moving animals.
These preclinical projects feed the clinical research done by our group for vulnerable patients at the University Hospital of Strasbourg (HUS). We currently study the ontogenesis and long-term consequences of multimodal sensory integration of premature babies at the neonatal intensive care unit and non pharmaceutical complementary therapeutic approaches to alleviate pain expression.


All my publications

Recent review articles
– Oxytocin & neonatal pain: Filippa et al (2019) Front Psychol.
– Oxytocin signaling in pain: Poisbeau et al (2018) Curr Top Behav Neurosci.
– Neonatal Pain Treatments: Walter-Nicolet et al (2017) Curr Pharm Des.
– Sex-specificities in pain: Melchior et al (2016) Neuroscience.
– Allopregnanolone synthesis to promote analgesia: Poisbeau et al (2014) Front Cell Neurosci.

Representative Articles
– Vitamin D & neuropathic pain: Poisbeau et al (2019) Mol Neurobiol.
– Impact of neonatal maternal separation and its rescue: Melchior et al (2018) Pain.
– A new analgesic oxytocinergic circuit: Eliava et al (2016) Neuron.
– Etifoxine analgesia: Juif et al (2015) Neuropharmacol.
– Peripheral analgesia by oxytocin and vasopressin: Juif & Poisbeau (2013) Pain.

Academic Responsibilities

Scientific Responsibilities


The French National Centre for Scientific Research