College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

Krzysztof Czaja, Ph.D., D.V.M.


k czaja

Associate Professor
Office: VBR 431
E-Mail: czajak@vetmed.wsu.edu
Phone: (509) 335-7645



Czaja Lab Homepage

Check out Dr. Czaja's research on chili peppers here.

Veterinary Gross Anatomy VM 512

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise." ...Robert Fritz

Imagine a future where neurosurgeons could implant new neurons into damaged areas of the brain or replace neurons lost to aging, or even enhance areas of the normal brain. I let this future begin today by investigating the biology of postnatal neurogenesis in vitro and in animal models utilizing technologies in cell biology, molecular biology and histology.

Some spontaneous generation of new neurons occurs in the adult mammalian nervous system. However, the addition of new neurons and replacement of damaged neurons is very limited. Therefore, identification of neuronal populations that can be stimulated to proliferate and differentiate into viable neurons is one of the major challenges for developing therapeutic strategies to repair neurological damage. Recently, we discovered that neurons of the viscerosensory nodose ganglia in adult rats proliferate, following systemic treatment with capsaicin, the active component of chili peppers. These data suggest that the nodose ganglia, and perhaps other primary afferent ganglia, may provide a model system for examining neurogenesis in the adult animal, and perhaps it could provide a source of neurons or precursors for autologous treatment of neurological injuries.

According to the CDC more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese and by 2030 this number will exceed 50%. Obesity related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. Our laboratory is investigating brain plasticity following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), the most effective method to achieve major, long-term weight loss.  Specifically, we try to establish the role of the vagus nerve in the mechanism of RYGB.  This information may suggest treatments for obese individuals that would be less radical than surgery.  Moreover, establishing the role of brain reorganization in taste alterations may allow the development of novel therapies that can mimic the effects of RYGB surgery.  Results of our studies may serve as the foundation for breakthroughs in obesity treatment.

Biographical Information

Krzysztof Czaja, Associate Professor in IPN, received his D.V.M. in 1993 from the Veterinary Medicine College, Academy of Agriculture and Technology, Olsztyn, Poland. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroanatomy from the University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland in 1997. From 1997-2007 he did postdoctoral work at the University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland; the Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany and United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Physiology Research Unit, Athens, GA, USA. In 2007, he was appointed to the faculty as an Assistant Professor at Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA. Dr. Czaja has been invited to give numerous presentations and symposia. He joined IPN and the Neuroscience Graduate Faculty in July of 2007.

Selected Publications (most recent at top)

Peters JH, Gallaher ZR, Ryu V, Czaja K (2013) Withdrawal and restoration of central vagal afferents within the dorsal vagal complex following subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. J Comp Neurol 521:3584-3599

Campos CA, Wright JS, Czaja K, Ritter RC. (2012) CCK-Induced Reduction of Food Intake and Hindbrain MAPK Signaling Are Mediated by NMDA Receptor Activation.Endocrinology. 2012 Apr 16. Epub 2012 April 16. PMID: 22508518

Gallaher ZR, Ryu V, Herzog T, Ritter RC, Czaja K (2012) Changes in microglial activation within the hindbrain, nodose ganglia, and the spinal cord following subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. Neurosci Lett. 2012 Mar 28;513(1):31-6. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Wright J, Campos C, Herzog T, Covasa M, Czaja K, Ritter RC (2011) Reduction of food intake by cholecystokinin requires activation of hindbrain NMDA-type glutamate receptors.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Aug;301(2):R448-55. Epub 2011 May 11.

Gallaher ZR, Larios RM, Sprunger LK, Czaja K (2011) Neural proliferation and restoration of neurochemical phenotypes and compromised functions following capsaicin-induced neuronal damage in adult rats. Frontiers in Neuroscience, Feb 2; 5:12.

Czaja K, Czaja WE, Giacobini-Robecchi M, Geuna S, Fornaro M (2011) Injury-induced DNA replication and neural proliferation in the adult mammalian nervous system. In: DNA Replication, ISBN: 978-953-307-1365-2.

Brown TE, Lee BR, Ryu V, Herzog T, Czaja K, Dong Y.  (2010) Reducing hippocampal cell proliferation in the adult rat doe snot prevent the acquisition of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference. Neurosci Lett 481(1): 41-6.

Gallaher ZR, Larios RM, Ryu V, Sprunger LK, Czaja K (2010) Recovery of viscerosensory innervation from the dorsal root ganglia of the adult rat following capsaicin-induced injury. J Comp Neurol 518: 3529-3540

Ryu V, Gallaher Z, Czaja K (2010) Plasticity of nodose ganglion neurons after capsaicin- and vagotomy-induced nerve damage in adult rats. Neuroscience 167: 1227-1238

Geuna S, Raimondo S, Ronchi G, Di SF, Tos P, Czaja K, Fornaro M (2009) Chapter 3 histology of the peripheral nerve and changes occurring during nerve regeneration. Int Rev Neurobiol 87: 27-46

Czaja K
, Burns GA, Ritter RC (2008) Capsaicin-induced neuronal death and proliferation of the primary sensory neurons located in the nodose ganglia of adult rats. Neuroscience 154: 621-630

Czaja K
, Barb CR, Kraeling RR (2007) Hypothalamic neurons innervating fat tissue in the pig express leptin receptor immunoreactivity. Neurosci Lett 425:6-11

Czaja K
(2006) Transsynaptic connections between the hypothalamus and adipose tissue: relationship to reproduction. Soc Reprod Fertil Suppl 62:45-53

Czaja K
, Ritter RC, Burns GA (2006) N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit phenotypes of vagal afferent neurons in nodose ganglia of the rat. J Comp Neurol 496:877-885

Czaja K
, Ritter RC, Burns GA (2006) Vagal afferent neurons projecting to the stomach and small intestine exhibit multiple N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit phenotypes. Brain Res 1119:86-93

Barb CR, Hausman GJ, Czaja K (2005) Leptin: A metabolic signal affecting central regulation of reproduction in the pig. Domest Anim Endocrinol 29:186-192

Czaja K
, Kaleczyc J, Sienkiewicz W, Lakomy M (2005) The influence of experimental ileitis on the neuropeptide coding of enteric neurons in the pig. Pol J Vet Sci 8:155-163

Sienkiewicz W, Kaleczyc J, Czaja K, Lakomy M (2004) Adrenergic, nitrergic and peptidergic innervation of the urethral muscle in the boar. Folia Histochem Cytobiol 42:89-94

Czaja K
, Kraeling RR, Barb CR (2003) Are hypothalamic neurons transsynaptically connected to porcine adipose tissue? Biochem Biophys Res Commun 311:482-485

Czaja K
, Lakomy M, Kaleczyc J, Barb CR, Rampacek GB, Kraeling RR (2002) Leptin receptors, NPY, and tyrosine hydroxylase in autonomic neurons supplying fat depots in a pig. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 293:1138-1144

Czaja K
, Lakomy M, Sienkiewicz W, Kaleczyc J, Pidsudko Z, Barb CR, Rampacek GB, Kraeling RR (2002) Distribution of neurons containing leptin receptors in the hypothalamus of the pig. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 298:333-337

Czaja K
, Kraeling R, Klimczuk M, Franke-Radowiecka A, Sienkiewicz W, Lakomy M (2002) Distribution of ganglionic sympathetic neurons supplying the subcutaneous, perirenal and mesentery fat tissue depots in the pig. Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars ) 62:227-234

Czaja K
(2000) Distribution of primary afferent neurons innervating the porcine oviduct and their immunohistochemical characterization. Cells Tissues Organs 166:275-282


PubMed Publications

Last Edited: Apr 09, 2014 10:49 AM   

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