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Anesthesiology

Eric Delpire Laboratory

Eric Delpire, PhD, far left, and his research team study cation-chloride cotransport mechanisms.GABAergic neurotransmission depends upon the transmembrane Cl concentration gradient that exists at the synapse. The intracellular Cl concentration in CNS and PNS neurons is regulated, in part, by cation-chloride cotransport mechanisms such as Na-K-2Cl and K-Cl cotransporters. For example, the inward Na-K-2Cl cotransporter is highly expressed in immature CNS neurons, resulting in a high intracellular Cl- concentration and GABA depolarizing or excitatory responses. In contrast, mature CNS neurons have low Na-K-2Cl cotransporter and high K-Cl cotransporter leading to low intracellular Cl- and GABA hyperpolarizing or inhibitory responses.

The Delpire Laboratory is creating and studying genetically-modified mouse models of the cotransporters and of proteins that regulate them. The work, involves molecular biology, physiology, electrophysiology and behavior. These studies have significance in pain perception, hyper-excitability and epilepsy, nerve conduction, peripheral neuropathy and paraplegia. In the 2009-2010 academic year, the laboratory  graduated one student in the neuroscience program, published nine research articles, two scientific reviews, nine meeting abstracts, a book, and four book chapters. The laboratory, with the support of the departments of Anesthesiology and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, also hosted the first annual meeting of the Tennessee Physiological Society.

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