Clonidine’s Effects on Identified Subpopulations of Dopamine-containing Neurons: Electrophysiological Studies

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Wayne State University
Investigators Name
Chiodo, Louis, PhD

Summary: There is general consensus among the scientific community that dopamine neuronal systems within the brain are, at least in part, importantly involved in the expression of the major symptoms of Tourette Syndrome (TS). This hypothesis is underscored by the fact that blockade of dopamine receptors (with such drugs as haloperidol) is known to be clinically efficacious in a large number of TS patients. Therefore, considerable effort has gone into acquiring a better understanding of the basic physiology of brain dopamine-containing neurons as well as the precise mechanism of action of drugs which are effective in the treatment of TS. In the present research project we hope to provide basic information which will help us to better understand and hopefully integrate two separate but perhaps related clinical observations: (1) the finding that the symptoms of TS are exacerbated by stressful environmental stimuli, and (2) that clonidine (a non-dopamine receptor blocking drug) is also effective in the treatment of TS. Since it is known that environmental stimuli can change the electrophysiological activity or midbrain dopamine neurons which project to the forebrain, is it possible that clonidine can alter or regulate this effect? The results of our experiments will provide additional information about: (1) the physiology or identified subpopulations of dopamine neurons (2) the pharmacological actions of clonidine upon these same cells, and (3) whether or not clonidine’s clinical actions in TS may, in part, be related to an ability to stabilize dopamine neuronal activity once it has been perturbed. Dr. Louis K. Chiodo Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI Dr. Chiodo is a neuroscientist who received his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh in 1981. He spent three years as an NIMH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine. He is presently Chief of the Laboratory of .Neurophysiology in the Center for Cell Biology at Sinai Hospital of Detroit, and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Wayne State University School of Medicine. Dr. Chiodo’s major research efforts over the last several years have been on the pharmacology and physiology of dopamine-containing neurons in the mammalian brain. Award: $13,500 Tourette Association of America, Inc. – Research Grant Award 1985