College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

Steve M. Simasko, Ph.D.


  Steve Simasco

Professor and Chair
E-Mail: simasko@vetmed.wsu.edu
Office: VBR 205F
Phone: (509) 335-6497


Some of the most significant medical problems that affect modern society, such as obesity, drug addiction (including alcohol and nicotine), dementia, and depression, are diseases in which there are significant behavioral components. Because of the behavioral nature of these afflictions, neuroscience has important contributions to make in the solutions to these conditions.

Developing effective therapeutic strategies requires a thorough understanding of the mechanisms that regulate and, in the case of disease, dysregulate the underlying physiological processes that influence these behaviors. The goals of the research in my laboratory are to develop these physiological insights, from the cellular and molecular level to the integrated behavior of the whole animal. We have two projects that are the current focus of the laboratory. The first project addresses regulation of food intake, specifically the mechanisms by which nutrients and hormones activate afferent gastrointestinal neurons that mediate meal termination. The second project examines the relationship between alcohol consumption and sleep disturbances. Our primary experimental model is the rat. In these studies we perform whole animal experiments involving behavioral end-points such as food intake, alcohol consumption, and EEG recordings of sleep, anatomical investigations utilizing immunohistochemistry and/or in situ hybridization, biochemical changes are followed by use of RIA, ELISA, or rt-PCR techniques, and cellular studies on primary cultures of important target tissues are performed by patch-clamp electrophysiology and single-cell calcium measurements.

Steve M. Simasko, Ph.D.Selected Publications

Kubota, T., A. De, R.A. Brown, S.M. Simasko, and J.M. Krueger (2002) Diurnal effects of acute and chronic administration of ethanol on sleep in rats. Alcoholism: Clin. Exp. Res. 26: 1153-1161.

De, A., L. Churchill, F. Obal Jr., S.M. Simasko, and J.M. Krueger (2002) GHRH and IL1b increase cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels in cultured hypothalamic GABAergic neurons. Brain Res. 949: 209-212.

Simasko, S.M., J. Wiens, A. Karpiel, M. Covasa, and R.C. Ritter (2002) Cholecystokinin increases cytosolic calcium in cultured vagal afferent neurons. Am. J. Physiol. Regul., Integr., Comp. Physiol. 283: R1303 R1313.

Simasko S.M., and R.C. Ritter (2003) Cholecystokinin activates both A- and C-type vagal afferent neurons. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 285(6):G1204-13.

De A., J.M. Krueger, S.M. Simasko (2003) Tumor necrosis factor alpha increases cytosolic calcium responses to AMPA and KCl in primary cultures of rat hippocampal neurons. Brain Res. 981(1-2):133-42.

Peters, J.H. R.C. Ritter, and S.M. Simasko. (2006) Leptin and CCK selectively activate vagal afferent neurons innervating the stomach and duodenum. Am. J. Physiol. (Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol.). 290: R1544-R1549. (Comment in: Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2006, 290:R1542-3).

Peters, J.H., S.M. Simasko, and R.C. Ritter. (2007) Leptin analog antagonizes leptin effects on food intake and body weight but mimics leptin-induced vagal afferent activation. Endocrinology 148: 2878-2885.

Simasko, S.M. and S. Mukherjee. (2009) Novel analysis of sleep patterns in rats separates periods of vigilance cycling from long-duration wake events. Behav. Brain Res. 196: 228-236.

Mukherjee, S. and S.M. Simasko. (2009) Chronic alcohol treatment in rats alters sleep by fragmenting periods of vigilance cycling in the light period with extended wakenings. Behav. Brain Res. 198: 113-124.

Zhao, H., and S.M. Simasko. (2010) Role of transient receptor potential channels in cholecystokinin-induced activation of cultured vagal afferent neurons. Endocrinology 151: 5237-5246.

Zhao, H., and D.C. Kinch, and S.M. Simasko. (2011) Pharmacological investigation of the cellular transduction pathways used by cholecystokinin to activate nodose neurons. Autonomic Neuroscience 164:20-26.

Wiater M.F., S. Mukherjee., A.J. Li, T.T. Dinh, E.M. Rooney, S.M. Simasko, and S Ritter. (2011) Circadian integration of sleep/wake and feeding requires NPY-receptor expressing neurons in the mediobasal hypothalamus. Am. J. Physiol. (Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol.) 301: R1569-R1583.


PubMed Publications (Note: PubMed Search may produce additional "Simasko" authors.)
Last Edited: Apr 09, 2013 10:22 AM   

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