Silvia Coco


Dr. Silvia Coco graduated in 1994 in Biological Sciences at the University of Milano (Dept. Medical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Chemotherapy), where she also obtained the title of Specialist (Scuola di Specializzazione) in Pharmacology (1997) and Doctor of Research (PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology, 2001), at the CNR Institute of Neuroscience (Milano Section). She was a PhD visiting student, at Yale University (CT, USA) at the Dept. of Cell Biology (1997-1998). During her period at the University of Milano/CNR she was awarded with a few fellowships and awards (by FIRB, ASI, HFSP, EC, MURST and Pharmacia & Upjohn).
Since 1 March 2005 Dr. Coco is a permanent Researcher at the Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca.
Since 2012  she is a Delegate for Vocational Guidance (Commissione Orientamento) of  the School of Medicine and Surgery; from 2015 to 2018 she was the coordinator of the Job Placement Commission for the Dept. of Medicine and Surgery. In addition to carry out research projects, Dr. Coco exerts teaching tasks (Pharmacology) at the University of Milano-Bicocca in different degree courses.

Dr. Coco is member of the Italian Society for Neuroscience (SINS), the Milan Center for Neuroscience, member of the Federation European Neuroscience Societies (FENS); the Forum of Italian Researchers on Mesenchymal Stromal Stem Cells (FIRST); she is also reviewer for the a few journals. She is also grant reviewer for FIRB and MIUR. Recently she was the co-Editor for the Special Issue “Applications of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Neuroscience” of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). 


Currently the main research interests of Dr. Coco and her lab concern the investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) on CNS cells. In particular, the lab aims at studying the paracrine action exerted by MSCs through the release of bioactive molecules including soluble factors and microvesicles/exosomes (i.e. Extracellular Vesicles) able to affect the activity of target cells, in particular in the context of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury).

Among the above mentioned interests, at present two different PhD programs are ongoing:

  • Analysis of the anti-inflammatory effects of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells-derived Extracellular Vesicles in experimental pathological contexts, lately focusing on Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell-derived Extracellular Vesicles as possible modulators of the neuronal GABAergic Excitatory/Inhibitory switch.

Past research interests concerned the characterization of the mechanisms of synaptogenesis in primary cultured hippocampal neurons: structural and functional analysis of the pre- and postsynaptic compartments during the formation of synaptic contacts; study of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter release; study of the mechanisms of secretion in primary cultures of astrocytes.

For our projects we strongly collaborate with: Humanitas Clinical and Research Center (IRCCS), Mario Negri Institute, Tettamanti Foundation (Dr. D’Amico’s lab), Universities of Verona, Insubria and Modena and Reggio Emilia and few labs at the University of Milano Bicocca.


  1. Intranasal delivery of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles exerts immunomodulatory and neuroprotective effects in a 3xTg model of Alzheimer’s disease. Losurdo M, Pedrazzoli M, D’Agostino C, Elia CA, Massenzio F, Lonati E, Mauri M, Rizzi L, Molteni L, Bresciani E, Dander E, D’Amico G, Bulbarelli A, Torsello A, Matteoli M, Buffelli M, Coco S. Stem Cells and Traslational Medicine. 2020  doi: 10.1002/sctm.19-0327 In press. 
  2. Intracerebral Injection of Extracellular Vesicles from Mesenchymal Stem Cells Exerts Reduced Aβ Plaque Burden in Early Stages of a Preclinical Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Elia CA, Tamborini M, Rasile M, Desiato G, Marchetti S, Swuec P, Mazzitelli S, Clemente F, Anselmo A, Matteoli M, Malosio ML, Coco S. Cells. 2019 Sep 10;8(9):1059. doi: 10.3390/cells8091059.
  3. Extracellular Vesicles from Mesenchymal Stem Cells Exert Pleiotropic Effects on Amyloid-β, Inflammation, and Regeneration: A Spark of Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease from Tiny Structures? Elia CA, Losurdo M, Malosio ML, Coco S. Bioessays. 2019 Apr;41(4):e1800199. doi: 10.1002/bies.201800199.
  4. Glucocorticoid receptors modulate dendritic spine plasticity and microglia activity in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease. Pedrazzoli M, Losurdo M, Paolone G, Medelin M, Jaupaj L, Cisterna B, Slanzi A, Malatesta M, Coco S, Buffelli M. Neurobiol Dis. 2019  Dec;132:104568. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.104568
  5. Mesenchymal stem cells enhance GABAergic transmission in co-cultured hippocampal neurons. Mauri M, Lentini D, Gravati M, Foudah D, Biella G, Costa B, Toselli M, Parenti M, Coco S. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2012 Apr;49(4):395-405. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2012.02.004.