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Neuroscience Homepage  > Faculty List > Seybold
Virginia S. Seybold, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neuroscience
Cellular mechanisms underlying hyperalgesia.

Although acute pain is an important adaptive mechanism that alerts an organism to tissue injury and initiates behavior to avoid further injury, chronic pain seems to serve no useful purpose. My research program addresses mechanisms underlying hyperalgesia, the increased sensation of pain that is felt following tissue injury. Mechanisms for hyperalgesia are explored at both ends of sensory neurons: at the peripheral process, where the signal of a noxious stimulus is first transduced, and in the spinal cord, where the first synapse in the pathway for sensation of pain is located.  Sensitization of sensory neurons occurs in conjunction with hyperalgesia.

Sensitization is the cellular process responsible for the increased response of sensory neurons to noxious stimuli. The mechanism underlying sensitization, however, is not understood. Using activity-dependent fluorescent dyes, we are exploring whether substances generated in injured tissue by cells of the immune system act directly on sensory neurons to enhance the response of these neurons to noxious stimuli. In addition, molecular biology is used to study plasticity in the expression of peptides, neurotransmitters and receptors in sensory neurons in conjunction with inflammation. 

Recently, it has been shown that neurons in the spinal cord exhibit increased excitability in parallel with hyperalgesia following peripheral injury. The second area of my research addresses whether peptides released from sensory neurons contribute to the increased excitability of spinal neurons. Modulation of the flexor reflex by receptor antagonists is used to assess the role of specific transmitters in the hyperexcitability of spinal neurons that accompanies peripheral inflammation and hyperalgesia. Biochemical studies of spinal neurons in vitro are used to explore the intracellular pathways by which receptor activation leads to a change in neuronal excitability.
Selected Publications
Khasabova I.A., Gielissen J., Chandiramani A., Harding-Rose C., Odeh D.A., Simone D.A. and Seybold V.S. (2011)
CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists promote analgesia through synergy in a murine model of tumor pain.
Behav. Pharmacol. 22(5-6): 607-16
Khasabova I.A., Chandiramani A., Harding-Rose C., Simone D.A. and Seybold V.S. (2011)
Increasing 2-arachidonoyl glycerol signaling in the periphery attenuates mechanical hyperalgesia in a model of bone cancer pain.
Pharmacol. Res. 64(1): 60-67
Seybold V.S. (2009)
The role of peptides in central sensitization.
Handb. Exp. Pharmacol. 2009 (194): 451-91
Khasabova I.A., Khasabov S.G., Harding-Rose C., Coicou L.G., Seybold B.A., Lindberg A.E., Steevens C.D., Simone D.A. and Seybold V.S. (2008)
A decrease in anandamide signaling contributes to the maintenance of cutaneous mechanical hyperalgesia in a model of bone cancer pain.
J. Neurosci. 28(44): 11141-52
Khasabova I.A., Stucky C.L., Harding-Rose C., Eikmeier L., Beitz A.J., Coicou L.G., Hanson A.E., Simone D.A. and Seybold V.S. (2007)
Chemical interactions between fibrosarcoma cancer cells and sensory neurons contribute to cancer pain.
J. Neurosci. 27(38): 10289-98
Groth R.D., Coicou L.G., Mermelstein P.G. and Seybold V.S. (2007)
Neurotrophin activation of NFAT-dependent transcription contributes to the regulation of pro-nociceptive genes.
J. Neurochem. 102(4): 1162-74
Seybold VS, Coicou LG, Groth RD, Mermelstein PG. (2006)
Substance P initiates NFAT-dependent gene expression in spinal neurons.
J. Neurochem. 97(2): 397-407
Anderson L.E. and Seybold V.S. (2004)
Calcitonin gene-related peptide regulates gene transcription in primary afferent neurons.
J. Neurochem. 91(6): 1417-29
Khasabova I.A., Harding-Rose C., Simone D.A. and Seybold V.S. (2004)
Differential effects of CB1 and opioid agonists on two populations of adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons.
J. Neurosci. 24(7):1744-53
Seybold V.S., Jia Y.P. and Abrahams L.G. (2003)
Cyclo-oxygenase-2 contributes to central sensitization in rats with peripheral inflammation.
Pain 105(1-2): 47-55
Seybold V.S., McCarson K.E., Mermelstein P.G., Groth R.D. and Abrahams L.G. (2003)
Calcitonin gene-related peptide regulates expression of neurokinin1 receptors by rat spinal neurons.
J. Neurosci. 23(5):1816-24
Khasabova I.A., Simone D.A. and Seybold V.S. (2002)
Cannabinoids attenuate depolarization-dependent Ca2+ influx in intermediate-size primary afferent neurons of adult rats.
Neuroscience 115(2): 613-25
Linden D.R., Reutter M.A., McCarson K.E. and Seybold V.S. (2000)
Time-dependent changes in neurokinin(3) receptors and tachykinins during adjuvant-induced peripheral inflammation in the rat.
Neuroscience 98(4): 801-11
Linden D.R., Chehl M., El-Fakahanay E.E. and Seybold V.S. (2000)
Neurokinin(3) receptors couple to the activation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in stably transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells.
J. Pharm. Expt. Ther. 293(2): 559-568
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