F. Edward Dudek
Professor and Chairman of Physiology
We are investigating the mechanisms by which electrical signals are transmitted between neurons in the mammalian brain. We are particularly interested in local neuronal interactions, which are critical for information processing. Most of our work involves the hippocampus and hypothalamus. The hippocampal research is aimed at the cellular basis of epilepsy, and our work in the hypothalamus is directed at the mechanisms responsible for hormone secretion and circadian rhythms. We use a wide range of methods, with an emphasis on anatomical and electrophysiological techniques in the brain slice preparation.
Our laboratory has studied synaptic and non-synaptic mechanisms of neuronal communication under normal conditions and in models of epilepsy. We have examined recurrent excitatory circuits mediated by chemical synapses, electrotonic coupling through gap junctions, and electrical field effects (ephaptic interactions). Particular emphasis has been on the mechanisms that synchronize neurons during seizure activity. We have been studying these processes in the kainate-treated rat, an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms that underlie seizure generation and epilepsy.
The hypothalamic research has focused on the cellular mechanisms by which neurons and neuroendocrine cells integrate signals from the brain. This work has previously involved the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei, which are responsible for secretion of the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin. More recently, we have studied the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which generates the circadian rhythm in mammals. Our specific aim has been to understand the electrophysiological properties of hypothalamic neurons, and the mechanisms of neurotransmission.
We intend to extend our neuroanatomical and electrophysiological studies on the hippocampus and hypothalamus. We will continue to use intracellular staining and whole-cell patch-clamp techniques to determine structure-function relationships in these two critical areas of the mammalian brain.
RESEARCH ARTICLES (recent publications, in reverse chronological order)
Statler, K.D., Scheerlinck, P., Pouliot, W., Hamilton, M., White, H.S. and Dudek, F.E. A potential model of pediatric posttraumatic epilepsy. Epilepsy Res. (in press).
Waldbaum, S. and Dudek, F.E. Single and repetitive paired-pulse suppression: a parametric analysis and assessment of usefulness in epilepsy research. Epilepsia 50: 904-916.
Hellier, J.L., White, A., Williams, P.A., Dudek, F.E. and Staley, K.J. (2009) NMDA receptor-mediated long-term alterations in epileptiform activity in experimental chronic epilepsy. Neuropharmacology 56: 414-421.
Williams, P.A., White, A.M., Clark, S., Ferraro, D.J., Swiercz, W., Staley,K.J. and Dudek, F.E. (2009) Development of spontaneous recurrent seizures after kainate-induced status epilepticus. J. Neurosci. 29: 2103-2112.
Lehmkuhle, M.J., Thomson, K.E., Scheerlinck, P., Pouliot, W., Greger, B. and Dudek, F.E. (2009) A simple quantitative method for analyzing electrographic status epilepticus in rats. J. Neurophysiol. 101: 1660-1670.
Kononenko, N.I., Kuehl-Kovarik, M.C., Patrin, K.M. and Dudek, F.E. (2008) Circadian difference in firing rate of isolated rat suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons. Neurosci. Lett. 436: 314-316.
Kononenko, N.I., Honma, S., Dudek F.E. and Honma, K-I. (2008) On the role of calcium and potassium currents in circadian modulation of firing rate in rat suprachiasmatic nucleus neurons: multielectrode array analysis. Neurosci Res. 62: 51-57.
Grabenstatter, H.L. and Dudek, F.E. (2008) A new potential AED, carisbamate, substantially reduces spontaneous motor seizures in rats with kainate-induced epilepsy. Epilepsia 49: 1787-1794.