Cristina Cocco


Department of Biomedical Sciences

Tel. 070/675-4052 4081


Personal webpage: here

Main areas of expertise: Disease biomarkers



Research activity

Biomarkers are used as indicators of a particular biological state, and include autoantibodies associated with specific infections and proteins/peptides whose change is useful in the diagnosis or follow-up of diseases.

Research lines:

  • The study of peptides/neuropeptides and neurotransmitters as possible biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, her investigations led to an Italian patent (IT2018000001696) based on a plasmatic diagnostic kit for Parkinson’s disease, now extended to Europe.
  • The identification of neuronal or endocrine autoantibodies associated with specific clinical aspects in autoimmune diseases (systemic Lupus erythematosus, autoimmune polyendocrinopathies, diabetes).

The main techniques used in her laboratory are: ELISA, immunofluorescence, gel chromatography, Western-blot , all applied to animal models and/or human samples.

Relevant National collaborations: coordinator and scientific director of a Convention between the Department of Biomedical Sciences and: the Interdepartmental Center for Research in Biology and Pathology of Aging (University of Pisa) and the Onlus association called NeuroCare (in Pisa) for the strengthening of research activities in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and aging

International collaborations with Universities of: Nottingham (UK), Amsterdam (Holland), Basque Country (Spain), Adelaide (Australia).

Key Publications:

  1. Meloni A, Corda G, Saba L, Ferri GL, Mariotti S, Cocco C. Reduction of Total Brain and Cerebellum Volumes Associated With Neuronal Autoantibodies in Patients With APECED. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Jan 1;104(1):150-162. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-01313.
  2. Brancia C, Noli B, Boido M, Pilleri R, Boi A, Puddu R, Marrosu F, Vercelli A, Bongioanni P, Ferri GL, Cocco C. TLQP Peptides in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Possible Blood Biomarkers with a Neuroprotective Role.Neuroscience. 2018 Jun 1;380:152-163. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience
  3. Cocco C, Brancia C, Corda G, Ferri GL. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary Axis and Autoantibody Related Disorders.Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Nov 3;18(11). pii: E2322. doi: 10.3390/ijms18112322. Review
  4. Noli B, Sanna F, Brancia C, D’Amato F, Manconi B, Vincenzoni F, Messana I, Melis MR, Argiolas A, Ferri GL, Cocco C.Profiles of VGF Peptides in the Rat Brain and Their Modulations after Phencyclidine Treatment. Front Cell Neurosci. 2017 Jun 2;11:158. doi:10.3389/fncel.2017.00158. eCollection 2017
  5. Angioni L, Cocco C, Ferri GL, Argiolas A, Melis MR, Sanna F.Involvement of nigral oxytocin in locomotor activity: A behavioral, immunohistochemical and lesion study in male rats.Horm Behav. 2016 Jul;83:23-38. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.05.012. Epub 2016 May 14.
  6. Brancia C, Noli B, Boido M, Boi A, Puddu R, Borghero G, Marrosu F, Bongioanni P, Orrù S, Manconi B, D’Amato F, Messana I, Vincenzoni F, Vercelli A, Ferri GL, Cocco C. VGF Protein and Its C-Terminal Derived Peptides in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Human and Animal Model Studies. PLoS One. 2016 Oct 13;11(10):e0164689. doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0164689.
  7. Cocco C, D’Amato F, Noli B, Ledda A, Brancia C, Bongioanni P, Ferri GL. Distribution of VGF peptides in the human cortex and their selective changes in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. J Anat. 2010 Dec;217(6):683-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2010.01309
  8. Cocco C, Brancia C, D’Amato F, Noli B.Pituitary gonadotropins and autoimmunity. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2014 Mar 25;385(1-2):97-104. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2013.10.009. Epub 2013 Oct 20. Review.
  9. Cocco C, Meloni A, Mariotti S, Cossu E, D’amato F, Zulian S, Tongiorgi E, Ferri GL. Novel neuronal and endocrine autoantibody targets in Autoimmune Polyendocrine Syndrome type 1.Autoimmunity. 2012 Sep;45(6):485-94. doi: 10.3109/08916934.2012.680632. Epub 2012 May 18.
  10. Ferri GL, Noli B, Brancia C, D’Amato F, Cocco C.VGF: an inducible gene product, precursor of a diverse array of neuro-endocrine peptides and tissue-specific disease biomarkers. J Chem Neuroanat. 2011 Dec;42(4):249-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2011.05.007. Epub 2011 May 20. Review.
contatti | accessibilità Università degli Studi di Cagliari
C.F.: 80019600925 - P.I.: 00443370929
note legali | privacy