Current studies focus on the role of specific neurotransmitters, such as serotonin (5-HT), in the behavioral effects of antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs. Animal models for depression and anxiety are used to evaluate the potential efficacy of different neurotransmitter and peptide receptors for clinical therapeutic effects, to identify brain regions associated with behavioral responses to drugs, and to construct and evaluate pharmacological models for improving the efficacy of psychiatric medications. The participation of central 5-HT neurotransmission in depression, anxiety and neuroendocrine regulation associated with behavioral stress is specifically being investigated. Microdialysis procedures are used to measure the release of neurotransmitters in discrete regions of awake freely-moving rats or mice. These studies provide information on the regulation of the release of neurotransmitters in different brain regions, determine environmental and behavioral conditions that alter the release of neurotransmitters, and measure the effects of drugs during behavioral performance. Finally, studies of different inbred mouse strains or knockout mice are examining genetic factors associated with complex behaviors and the behavioral effects of psychotherapeutic medications.
Pharmacological Sciences Graduate Group; Neuroscience Graduate Group; Psychology Graduate Group
Balu, D.T. and Lucki, I. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis: Function and implications in disease etiology. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 2009, 33:232-252.
Balu, D.T., Hodes, G.E., Anderson, B.T. and Lucki, I. Enhanced sensitivity of the MRL/MpJ mouse to the neuroplastic and behavioral effects of chronic antidepressant treatments. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2009, 34(7):1764-73.
Balu, D.T., Hodes, G.E., Hill, T.E., Ho, N., Rahman, Z., Bender, C., Ring, R.H., Dwyer, J.M., Rosenzweig-Lipson, S., Hughes, Z.A., Schechter, L.E. and Lucki, I. Flow cytometric analysis of BrdU incorporation as a high-throughput method for measuring adult neurogenesis in the mouse. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods, 2009, 59:100-107.
Hodes, G.E., Hill-Smith, T.E., Suckow, R.F., Cooper, T.B. and Lucki, I. Sex specific effects of chronic fluoxetine treatment on neuroplasticity and pharmacokinetics in mice. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2010, 332(1):266-73.
Carr, G.V., Bangasser, D.A., Bethea, T., Young, M., Valentino, R.J. and Lucki, I. Antidepressant-like effects of kappa opioid receptor antagonists in Wistar-Kyoto rats. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010, 35(3):752-63.