Vittorio Locatelli


VITTORIO LOCATELLI, M.D., is full professor of Pharmacology at the University of Milano-Bicocca. He is working at the Department of Health Sciences. He was Guest Researcher at the Department of Histology of the Karolinska Institutet of StockholmSweden. His research activity is documented by 185 publications on qualified international scientific journals, 61 articles or monographs on international books and 20 on Italian journals or books, and many communications in international and national congresses. He participated in the organisation of international symposia and courses. His research work has been funded by CNR, AIRC, FIRB and MIUR and European Project EUREKA.


Researches in progress include the characterization of the endocrine and extra-endocrine activities of ghrelin, synthetic growth hormone secretagogues and other endogenous peptides. In particular, ongoing researches are aimed at the characterization of the mechanisms of different endogenous peptides in the control of energy metabolism, cardiac function, behavior, and neuroprotection. Another aspect of the ongoing research, in collaboration with industrial partners specialized in the design and synthesis of new drugs, is the study of peptidomimetic analogues, agonists or antagonist, of endogenous peptides, with the intent to elaborate new drugs with increased oral bioavailability in order to make easier their therapeutic use.

  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Neurofarmacology
  • Neuroprotection
  • Peripheral metabolism
  • Obesity


We have found that TLQP-21, a peptide derived from the VGF precursor, is present in high concentrations in the CNS of rats. We have observed that the central administration of TLQP-21 is effective to block the early development of obesity induced by hyper-caloric diets in mice. However, it is not known the nature of the receptors with which TLQP-21 interacts to induce its metabolic changes. The identification of the receptor/s that bind TLQP-21 is relevant to understand its cellular mechanisms of action. By using photoaffinity labelling, TLQP-21 chemically modified to become photoactivatable, and after labelling to allow its localization, the probe can be used to bound and separateTLQP-21 receptors. After purification receptors can be characterized by mass spectrometry after bidimensional gel-electrophoresis of the digested protein. The molecular weight of the tryptic peptides can be obtained by MALDI-TOF. The isolation and characterization of the TLQP-21 receptors is substantial for studying the mechanisms of action and the structural requirements of the peptide and are the necessary premise to the development of new agonist and antagonist compounds that can be used as drugs in clinics to control alimentary related pathologies and in particular dietary obesity


  1. TLQP-21, a VGF-derived peptide, increases energy expenditure and prevents the early phase of diet-induced obesity. Bartolomucci A, La Corte G, Possenti R, Locatelli V, Rigamonti AE, Torsello A, Bresciani E, Bulgarelli I, Rizzi R, Pavone F, D’Amato FR, Severini C, Mignogna G, Giorgi A, Schininà ME, Elia G, Brancia C, Ferri GL, Conti R, Ciani B, Pascucci T, Dell’Omo G, Muller EE, Levi A, Moles A. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Sep 26;103(39):14584-9. Epub 2006 Sep 18
  2. Central ghrelin gastroprotection involves nitric oxide/prostaglandin cross-talk. Sibilia V, Pagani F, Rindi G, Lattuada N, Rapetti D, De Luca V, Campanini N, Bulgarelli I, Locatelli V, Guidobono F, Netti C. Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Jun;154(3):688-97. doi: 10.1038/bjp.2008.120. Epub 2008 Apr 14
  3. Desacyl-ghrelin and synthetic GH-secretagogues modulate the production of inflammatory cytokines in mouse microglia cells stimulated by beta-amyloid fibrils. Bulgarelli I, Tamiazzo L, Bresciani E, Rapetti D, Caporali S, Lattuada D, Locatelli V, Torsello A. J Neurosci Res. 2009 Sep;87(12):2718-27. doi: 10.1002/jnr.22088.
  4. Novel domain-selective ACE-inhibiting activity of synthetic growth hormone secretagogues. Torsello A, Bresciani E, Ravelli M, Rizzi L, Bulgarelli I, Ricci G, Ghiazza B, Del Puppo M, Mainini V, Omeljaniuk RJ, Tamiazzo L, Mancia G, Magni F, Locatelli V. Pharmacol Res. 2012 Oct;66(4):317-24. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2012.06.006. Epub 2012 Jun 23.
  5. Protective but Not Anticonvulsant Effects of Ghrelin and JMV-1843 in the Pilocarpine Model of Status epilepticus. Lucchi C, Curia G, Vinet J, Gualtieri F, Bresciani E, Locatelli V, Torsello A, Biagini G. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 28;8(8):e72716. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072716


  • Universités Montpellier 1, France (Prof. J Martinez)
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA (Prof. A Bartolomucci)
  • LakeheadUniversity, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada (Prof. RJ Omeljaniuk)
  • Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain (Prof. VM Arce)
  • University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece (Prof. N Pitsikas)