Scientific topics

Research Staff Methods Projects Publications

In connection with the increase in neurodegenerative and mental diseases and disorders in neuronal structures and pathways due to damage to vital systems, the processes of making contact and exchanging sensory and effector information at different nervous system organisation levels. The Department of Synaptic Signaling and Communications conducts research registering changes in the work of various regulatory mechanisms of synaptic and non-synaptic communications in the central and autonomic nervous systems. Neuromediatory and neuromodulatory interactions and the role of neuropeptides are analyzed in normal and in models of pathological conditions such as hypoxia/ischemia, oxidative stress, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, inflammatory processes, etc. Elucidating the etiopathogenesis of these socially significant diseases opens up opportunities for pharmacological interventions in their treatment. The localization of neurotransmitters in the brain, the tracing of pathways in the central nervous system, and the development and aging of brain structures are studied; expression of non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic brain-gut axis transmitters, functional coordination of contractile activity in the distal gastrointestinal tract. Part of the research is related to studying endogenous biologically active peptides - the so-called "brain-gut" neuropeptides (vasoactive intestinal peptide, ghrelin, somatostatin, neurotensin, etc.). Their effects, mechanisms of action, protective and therapeutic role, and interactions with other neurotransmitter systems in normal and pathological conditions are studied.

Scientific topics

Research Staff

Methods Projects Publications

  • Assoc. Prof. Dimitrinka Atanasova, PhD - Head of Department
  • Assoc. Prof. Maria Genkova-Papazova, PhD
  • Assoc. Prof. Maria Lazarova, PhD
  • Assoc. Prof. Polina Petkova-Kirova, PhD
  • Chief Assist. Boris Kadinov, PhD
  • Chief Assist. Lora Dyakova, PhD
  • Assist. Andrei popatanasov, PhD
  • Jeni Todorova laboratory assistant

Scientific topics Research Staff


Projects Publications

  • Quantitative measurement of labelled neurotransmitters in vitro
  • Model of peristaltic reflex in vitro
  • Recording of spontaneous and field stimulation-evoked contractions of visceral and vascular muscles in vitro
  • Histology
  • Histochemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Light and electron microscopy
  • Stereotaxic technique
  • In vivo brain microdialysis with HPLC determination of brain neurotransmitters
  • Computer analysis of images
  • Cell culture - permanent cell lines and primary cell cultures (thawing, culturing and subsequent freezing; obtaining primary cell cultures)
  • Methods for determining cell survival and proliferative activity with different mechanisms of action and targets in the cell (investigating the influence of various newly synthesized substances on 2D and 3D cell cultures)
    Short-term tests (treatment period 3-120 hours):
  • Cytotoxic tests: MTT test (MTT), neutral red (NR) incorporation method, crystal violet (CV) staining, trypan blue (TV) staining;
  • double staining with acridine orange and propidium iodide (AO/PI); staining with hematoxylin/eosin (NE) - to observe cytopathological changes in the cell;
  • methods for determining the type of cell death (apoptosis, necrosis, autophagy);
  • observing damage in the DNA of the cells (comet study);
  • impact on cell cycle (FACS analysis);
  • Long-term tests (treatment period 5-48 days):
  • colony-forming method – checking the ability of the treated cells to form colonies in a semi-liquid medium

Scientific topics Research Staff Methods



Scientific topics Research Staff Methods Projects


  Period (2021-2023)
  • Kadinov, B., Shkondrov, A., Angelov, B., Krasteva, I., Kondeva-Burdina, M.. In vitro effects of alcesefoliside and mauritianin, isolated from Astragalus monspessulanus subsp. monspessulanus, on the contractility of a. basilaris. Pharmacia, 70(1), 2023, DOI:10.3897/pharmacia.70.e98412, 15-19. SJR (Scopus):0.17, JCR-IF (Web of Science):0.19 Q3 (Scopus)

  • Yeung, A.W.K., Choudhary, N., Tewari, D., El-Demerdash, A., Tomczyk, M., Das, N., Pirgozliev, V., Lucarini, M., Durazzo, A., Souto, E., Santini, A., Devkota, H., Uddin, M.S., Echeverría, J., Wang, D., Gan, R.-Y., Brnčić, M., Kalfin, R., De, R., Cenanovic, M., Sai, C., Kapoor, B., Kirilov, K., Tzvetkov, N.T., Belakova, B., Uhrin, P., Jóźwik, A., Horbanczuk, O., Strzałkowska, N., Koszarska, M., Charuta, A., Horbańczuk, J/, Atanasov, A.G.. Lycopene: total-scale literature landscape analysis of a valuable nutraceutical with numerous potential applications in the promotion of human and animal health. Animal Science Papers and Reports, 40, 2, Polish Academy of Sciences, 2022, 119-134. SJR (Scopus):0.24, JCR-IF (Web of Science):0.967 Q3 (Scopus)

  • Wang, D., Huang, J., Gui, T., Yang, Y., Feng, T., Tzvetkov, N. T., Xu, T., Gai, Z., Zhou, Y., Zhang, J., Atanasov, A. G.. SR-BI as a target of natural products and its significance in cancer. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 80, Elsevier, 2022, DOI:doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2019.12.025, 18-38. SJR (Scopus):2.91, JCR-IF (Web of Science):17.012 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Toneva D., Nikolova S., Tasheva-Terzieva E., Zlatareva D., Lazarov N.. Sexual dimorphism in shape and size of the neurocranium. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 136, 6, Springer Verlag, 2022, ISSN:0937-9827, DOI:10.1007/s00414-022-02876-0, 1851-1863. SJR (Scopus):0.88, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.791 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Web of Science)

  • Toneva D., Nikolova S., Tasheva-Terzieva E., Zlatareva D., Lazarov N.. A geometric morphometric study on sexual dimorphism in viscerocranium. Biology, 11, 9, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), 2022, ISSN:2079-7737, DOI:10.3390/biology11091333, JCR-IF (Web of Science):5.168 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Staykov, H., Lazarova, M., Hassanova, Y., Stefanova, M., Tancheva, L., Nikolov, R.. Neuromodulatory Mechanisms of a Memory Loss Preventive Effect of Alpha Lipoic Acid in an Experimental Rat Model of Dementia. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, Humana Press, 2022, DOI:10.1007/s12031-022-01979-y, SJR (Scopus):0.71, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.866 Q2 (Web of Science)

  • Stamenov N., Jelev L., Atanasova D., Dandov A., Lazarov N.. Microscopic Anatomy of the Pulmonary Neuroepithelial Bodies in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats. Acta morphologica et anthropologica, 29, (1-2), Prof. Marin Drinov Publishing House, 2022, ISSN:ISSN 1311-8773 (print) ISSN 2535-0811 (online), DOI:doi:10.7546/AMA.29.1-2.2022.03, 18-21 Без JCR или SJR – индексиран в WoS или Scopus (Web of Science)

  • Shishmanova-Doseva,, Atanasova D, Ioanidu L, Uzunova Y, Atanasova M, Peychev L, Tchekalarova J. The anticonvulsant effect of chronic treatment with topiramate after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus is accompanied by a suppression of comorbid behavioral impairments and robust neuroprotection in limbic regions in rats. Epilepsy and Behavior, 134, Elsevier, 2022, ISSN:1525-5050,, 108802. SJR (Scopus):0.88, JCR-IF (Web of Science):3.337 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Prateeksha, Sharma V. K,, Liu, X., Oyarzún, D. A,, Abdel-Azeem, A. M., Atanasov, A.G., Hesham, A. E., Barik, S. K., Gupta, V. K., Singh, B. N.. Microbial polysaccharides: An emerging family of natural biomaterials for cancer therapy and diagnostics.. Seminars in Cancer Biology, 86(Pt 3), Elsevier, 2022, DOI:doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2021.05.021, 706-731. SJR (Scopus):2.91, JCR-IF (Web of Science):17.012 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Pop-Bica, C., Ciocan, C. A., Braicu, C., Haranguș, A., Simon, M., Nutu, A., Pop, L. A., Slaby, O., Atanasov, A. G., Pirlog, R., Al Hajjar, N., Berindan-Neagoe, I.. Next-Generation Sequencing in Lung Cancer Patients: A Comparative Approach in NSCLC and SCLC Mutational Landscapes.. Journal of personalized medicine, 12, 3, MDPI, 2022, DOI:, 453. SJR (Scopus):0.76, JCR-IF (Web of Science):3.508 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Nikolova, S., Toneva, D., Agre, G., Lazarov, N. Influence of persistent metopic suture on sagittal suture closure. Annals of Anatomy - Anatomischer Anzeiger, 239, Elsevier GmbH, 2022, ISSN:0940-9602, DOI:10.1016/j.aanat.2021.151811, SJR (Scopus):0.55, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.976 Q2 (Web of Science)

  • Nikolova S., Toneva D., Tasheva-Terzieva E., Lazarov N.. Cranial morphology in metopism: A comparative geometric morphometric study. Annals of Anatomy - Anatomischer Anzeiger, 243, Elsevier GmbH, 2022, ISSN:0940-9602, DOI:10.1016/j.aanat.2022.151951, SJR (Scopus):0.55, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.976 Q2 (Web of Science)

  • Kirov T., Atanasova D., Lazarov N.. Neurochemical profile of the myenteric plexus in the rat colorectal region. Anatomical Record-ADVANCES IN INTEGRATIVE ANATOMY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2022, ISSN:1932-8486, 1932-8494, DOI:, SJR (Scopus):0.61, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.227 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Gradev A., Jelev L., Lazarov N.. The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis: cytoarchitecture and morphometry of its subnuclear organizationin the rat brain. Acta morphologica et anthropologica, 29(1-2), Prof. Marin Drinov Publishing House, 2022, ISSN:ISSN 1311-8773 (print) ISSN 2535-0811 (online) , DOI:10.7546/AMA.29.1-2.2022.02, 3-10 Без JCR или SJR – индексиран в WoS или Scopus (Web of Science)

  • Dinev, D., Popova, K., Zhivkova, T., Dyakova, L., Abudalleh, A., Alexandrova, R., Culita, D.C., Mocanu, T., Maxim, C., Marinescu, G.. Synthesis, structural characterization and cytotoxic activity in tumor cells of Cu(II) and Co(II) complexes with o-vanillin aminoacids Schiff bases.. Applied Organometallic Chemistry, 36, 10, 2022, ISSN:1099-0739, SJR (Scopus):0.58, JCR-IF (Web of Science):4.072 Q2 (Web of Science)

  • Chochkova, M., Rusew, R., Kalfin, R., Tancheva, L., Lazarova, M., Sbirkova-Dimitrova, H., Popatanasov, A., Tasheva, K., Shivachev, B., Petek, N., Štícha, M.. 2-Methylcinnamic Acid Amide: Synthesis, Molecular Docking, and Neuroprotective Effect in the MPTP Mouse Model of Parkinson's disease. Crystals, 12, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), 2022, ISSN:20734352, DOI:, 1518. SJR (Scopus):0.46, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.67 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Chayrov R., Sbirkova-Dimitrova H., Lazarova M., Tancheva L., Kalfin R., Shivachev B., Stankova I.. Development of N,N-Dimethylglycine -Amantadine for adjunctive dopaminergic application: Synthesis, Structure and Biological Activity. Crystals, 12, 9, MDPI Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022, ISSN:20734352, DOI:10.3390/cryst12091227, SJR (Scopus):0.45, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.67; Q2 (Scopus)

  • Behrangi N., Heinig L., Frintrop L., Santrau E., Kurth J., Krause B., Atanasova D., Clarner T., Fragoulis A., Joksch M., Rudolf H., Menth S., Joost S., Kipp M.. Siponimod ameliorates metabolic oligodendrocyte injury via the sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor 5. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119, 40, National Academy of Sciences, 2022, ISSN:ISSN (printed): 0027-8424; ISSN (electronic): 1091-6490, DOI:10.1073/pnas.2204509119, SJR (Scopus):4.18, JCR-IF (Web of Science):12.779 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Tancheva, L., Lazarova, M., Velkova, L., Dolashki, A., Uzunova, D., Minchev, B, Petkova-Kirova, P, Hassanova, Y., Gavrilova, P., Tasheva, K., Taseva, T., Hodzhev, Y., Atanasov, AG., Stefanova, M., Alexandrova, A., Tsvetanova, E., Atanasov, V., Kalfin, R., Dolashka, P.. Beneficial Effects of Snail Helix aspersa Extract in an Experimental Model of Alzheimer's Type Dementia. J Alzheimers Dis., 88, 1, IOS Press, 2022, ISSN:13872877, 18758908, DOI:10.3233/JAD-215693, 155-175. SJR (Scopus):1.23, JCR-IF (Web of Science):4.16 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Lazarova, M., Tancheva, L., Chayrov, R., Tzvetanova, E., Alexandrova, A., Popatanasov, A., Uzunova, D., Stefanova, M., Stankova, I., Kalfin, R. Tyrosinyl-amantadine - new amantаdine derivative with ameliorative effect in 6-OHDA experimental model of Parkinson’s disease in rats.. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, 72, Humana Press, 2022, DOI:, 900-909. SJR (Scopus):0.71, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.866 Q2

  • Lazarov N., Atanasova D.. The Human Carotid Body and its Role in Ventilatory Acclimatization to Hypoxia. Acta morphologica et anthropologica, 29, 3-4, Prof. Marin Drinov Publishing House, 2022, ISSN:ISSN 1311-8773 (print) ISSN 2535-0811 (online) , DOI:doi:10.7546/AMA.29.3-4.2022.11, 63-68 Без JCR или SJR – индексиран в WoS или Scopus (Web of Science)

  • Dragomanova, S., Pavlov, S., Marinova, D., Hodzev, Y., Petralia, M., Fagone, P., Nicoletti, F., Lazarova, M., Tzvetanova, E., Alexandrova, A., Kalfin, R., Tancheva, L.. Neuroprotective Effects of Myrtenal in an Experimental Model of Dementia Induced in Rats. Antioxidants, 11, 2, MDPI Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022, ISSN:20763921, DOI:DOI: 10.3390/antiox11020374, 374. SJR (Scopus):1.01, JCR-IF (Web of Science):7.675 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Web of Science)

  • Dragomanova S., Lazarova M., Munkuev A., Suslov E., Volcho K., Salakhutdinov, Bibi A., Reynisson J., Tzvetanova E., Alexandrova A., Georgieva A., Uzunova D., Stefanova M., Kalfin R., Tancheva L.. New Myrtenal–Adamantane Conjugates Alleviate Alzheimer’s-Type Dementia in Rat Model. Molecules, 7, 17, MDPI Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022, ISSN:14203049, DOI:, 5456. JCR-IF (Web of Science):4.927 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Web of Science)

  • Atanasova D., Dandov A., Lazarov N.. Neurochemical plasticity of the carotid body in hypertension. Anatomical Record-ADVANCES IN INTEGRATIVE ANATOMY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2022, ISSN:1932-8486, 1932-8494, DOI:, SJR (Scopus):0.61, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.227 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Yeung, A.W.K., Atanasov, A., Sheridan, H., Klager, E., Eibensteiner, F., Völkl-Kernstock, S., Kletecka-Pulker, M., Willschke ,H., Schaden, E. Open innovation in medical and pharmaceutical research: A literature landscape analysis. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2021, DOI:doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.587526, JCR-IF (Web of Science):4.225 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Web of Science)

  • Toneva, D., Nikolova, S., Agre, G., Zlatareva, D., Hadjidekov, V., Lazarov, N.. Machine learning approaches for sex estimation using cranial measurements. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 135, 3, Springer Verlag, 2021, ISSN:0937-9827, 1437-1596, DOI:10.1007/s00414-020-02460-4, 951-966. SJR (Scopus):0.963, JCR-IF (Web of Science):2.686 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Stankova, I., Lazarova, M., Chayrov, R., Popatanasov, A., Tancheva, L., Kalfin, R.. Newly synthesized amantаdine derivative: safety and neuropharmacological activity. Farmacia, 69, 6, Romanian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2021, ISSN:00148237,, 1112-1119. JCR-IF (Web of Science):1.607 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Stamenov, N., Lazarov, N.. Structure and innervation of the pulmonary neuroepithelial bodies in rats. Acta Morphologica et Anthropologica, 28, 1-2, Prof. Marin Drinov Publishing House of BAS, 2021, ISSN:ISSN 1311-8773 (print) ISSN 2535-0811 (online), 28-31 Без JCR или SJR – индексиран в WoS или Scopus (Web of Science)

  • Shishmanova-Doseva M., Atanasova D., Uzunova Y., Yoanidu L., Peychev L., Marinov P., Tchekalarova J.. Effects of Lacosamide Treatment on Epileptogenesis, Neuronal Damage and Behavioral Comorbidities in a Rat Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22, 9, MDPI, 2021, ISSN:1422-0067, DOI:, 4467. SJR (Scopus):1.18, JCR-IF (Web of Science):5.924 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Nikolova, S., Toneva, D., Lazarov, N.. Squamous suture obliteration: frequency and investigation of the associated skull morphology. Anatomical Science International, 96, 1, Springer Nature, 2021, ISSN:1447-073X, 1447-6959, DOI:10.1007/s12565-020-00555-x, 42-54. SJR (Scopus):0.5, JCR-IF (Web of Science):1.741 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Nikolova, S., Toneva, D., Lazarov, N.. A comparative digital morphometric study of nasofrontal region in metopic and non-metopic cranial series. Anthropologischer Anzeiger, 78, 4, E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2021, ISSN:0003-5548, 2363-7099, DOI:10.1127/anthranz/2021/1388, 347-358. SJR (Scopus):0.33, JCR-IF (Web of Science):0.877 Q2 (Scopus)

  • Ilieva, K., Atanasova, M., Atanasova, D., Kortenska, L., Tchekalarova, J. Chronic agomelatine treatment alleviates icvAβ-induced anxiety and depressive-like behavior through affecting Aβ metabolism in the hippocampus in a rat model of Alzheimer's. Physiol Behav, 113525, Elsevier, 2021, DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113525, SJR (Scopus):0.96, JCR-IF (Web of Science):3.244 Q2 (Web of Science)

  • Dimitrova, D., Nikolova, B., Bogoeva, V., Robev, B., Tsoneva, I., Dimitrov, S., Kadinov, B.. Do Mistletoe (Viscum album L.) Lectins Influence Isometric Contraction of Non-diseased Human Mesenteric Arteries ex vivo?. International Journal Bioautomation, 25, 1, Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2021, DOI:10.7546/ijba.2021.25.1.000788, 41-52. SJR (Scopus):0.242 Q3 (Scopus)

  • Dimitrov N., Tomov N., Atanasova D., Iliev S., Tomova T., Sivrev D., Goranova Z.. Visible Meridian Phenomena after Acupuncture: A Series of Case Reports. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, Elsevier BV, 2021, ISSN:2005-2901 (print); 2093-8152 (web), 50-57. SJR (Scopus):0.37 Q3 (Scopus)

  • Dimitrov N., Atanasova D., Tomov N., Pirovski N., Ivanova I., Stefanov I., Sivrev D.. Needle-nerve interaction in acupuncture: A morphological study. Bulgarian Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 24, 3, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Trakia University, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, Bulgaria, 2021, ISSN:ISSN 1311-1477, DOI:10.15547/bjvm.2290, 324-333. SJR (Scopus):0.21 Q3 (Scopus)

  • Culita, D.C., Dyakova, L., Marinescu, G., Zhivkova, T., Georgieva, M., Vasileva, B., Spasov, R., Miloshev, G., Kalfin, R., Vidacovic, M., Oprea, O., Alexandrova, R.. Synthesis, characterization and cytotoxic evaluation of Ni(II), Cu(II), and Zn(II) complexes with deoxycholate ligand.. Farmacia, 69, 3, 2021, DOI:7., SJR (Scopus):0.28, JCR-IF (Web of Science):1.433 Q2 (Web of Science)

  • Tancheva, L., Lazarova, M., Saso, L., Kalfin, R., Stefanova, M., Uzunova, D., Atanasov, A. "Beneficial effect of melatonin on motor and memory disturbances in 6-OHDA-lesioned rats". Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, 7, 4, Humana Press, 2021, ISSN:15591166, DOI:DOI:10.1007/s12031-020-01760-z, 702-712. JCR-IF (Web of Science):3.444 Q1 - оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Lazarova, M., Tsekova, D., Tancheva, L., Kirilov, K., Uzunova, D., Vezenkov, L., Tsvetanova, E., Alexandrova, A., Georgieva, A., Gavrilova, P., Dragomanova, S., Papazova, M., Handzhiyski, Y., Kalfin, R.. New Galantamine Derivatives with Inhibitory Effect on Acetylcholinesterase Activity. Journal of Alzheimer's disease, 83, 3, 2021, DOI:10.3233/JAD-210577, 1211--1220. SJR (Scopus):1.68, JCR-IF (Web of Science):4.472 Q1 - оглавява ранглистата

  • Lazarova, M., Tancheva, L., Alexandrova, A., Tzvetanova, E., Georgieva, A., Stefanova, M., Tsekova, D., Vezenkov, L., Kalfin, R., Uzunova, D., Petkova-Kirova, P. Effects of New Galantamine Derivatives in a Scopolamine Model of Dementia in Mice. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 84, 2, IOS press, 2021, ISSN:ISSN 1387-2877 (P) ISSN 1875-8908 (E), DOI:10.3233/JAD-215165, 671-690. SJR (Scopus):1.677, JCR-IF (Web of Science):4.472 Q1 - оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)

  • Atanasova D., Lazarov N., Stoyanov D., Spassov R., Tonchev A., Tchekalarova J. Reduced neuroinflammation and enhanced neurogenesis following chronic agomelatine treatment in rats undergoing chronic constant light.. Neuropharmacology, Elsevier, 2021, ISSN:0028-3908,, SJR (Scopus):1.76, JCR-IF (Web of Science):5.25 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Web of Science)

  • Atanasov G.A.. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition). Autophagy, 17, 1, 2021, DOI:10.1080/15548627.2020.1797280, 1-382. SJR (Scopus):3.93 Q1, не оглавява ранглистата (Scopus)