In Vivo Pharmacology Core (Core D)

 Christopher McCurdy


Associate Professor
Department of BioMolecular Sciences


Overview of Core

The In Vivo Pharmacology Core (Core D) will focus on screening natural products with overall effects on the endocannabinoid system and possible membership in four drug categories: opiate-like, stimulant-like, cardiovascular-like and depressant-like compounds. While these categories have potential therapeutic uses three of the categories are also associated with abuse potential and other negative side effects including, motor side effects, temperature dysregulation, changes in food intake, and cognitive impairments (memory and reaction time).

Our first aim is to assess natural products, their derivatives, and synthetic agents identified by the center investigators. Our second aim is to set up the peripheral studies and validate the use of specific animal models to evaluate the usefulness of natural products as potential therapeutic agents. In some cases, a hypothesized mechanism of action will be identified and the behavioral test battery will focus on known functions of those receptor systems. In other cases, the hypothesized mechanism of action of a novel natural product will be unknown and promising compounds will be screened for membership in one of the four drug categories, and their behavioral and peripheral side effect profile will be evaluated. Targeting appropriate compounds for specific therapeutic uses will be the focus of future research.

Current assays include:

  • Feeding Studies
  • Forced Swim Test
  • Hot Plate Assay
  • Opioid Effects
  • Opioid Withdrawal Assay
  • Rotarod Testing
  • Tail Flick Assay
  • Tail Suspension Test
  • Tetrad Assay (locomotor activity, catalepsy, body temperature and nociception)

The Center of Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience (CORE-NPN) is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of its Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE).   Last Modified: 2/5/2015
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