University of Virginia Department of Pharmacology

Ruth L. Stornetta


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Research Asst. Professor of Pharmacology

Role of Endogenous Peptides in Control of Cardiovascular Function

My research interests have centered on understanding the biochemical, pharmacological, physiological and anatomical basis of the role of endogenous opiates, GABA and glycine in the control of cardiorespiratory function.

I have explored the "withdrawal" phenomenon both for morphine and for clonidine and have investigated specifically how these phenomena impact on cardiovascular control systems.

I have recently undertaken a new line of research to explore the inhibitory control of sympathetic nerve outflows. The current projects include the use of the pseudorabies virus (PRV) to mark specific autonomic targets and thus label sympathetic preganglionic neurons (SPGNs) and the presympathetic neurons antecedent to SPGNs. The PRV will be combined with a variety of other markers to determine the pattern of presympathetic neurons in spinal cord and brainstem and the putative transmitter contained in these presympathetic neurons. Specifically, I will use in situ hybridization with a riboprobe constructed from the GAD-67 clone as a marker for GABA. I will also use antibodies directed against tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) as a marker for catecholamine neurons. I hope this will lead to a better understanding of the control of sympathetic outflows both at the medullary and spinal levels.


1. Rosin, D.L., Talley, E., Lee, A., Stornetta, R.L., Gaylinn, B., Guyenet, P.G., Lynch, K.R. Distribution of 2C-adrenergic receptor-like immunoreactivity in the rat central nervous system, J. Comp. Neurol.,372:135,1996 ;

2. Guyenet, P. G., Koshiya, N., Huangfu, D. H., Baraban, S. C., Stornetta, R. L. and Li, Y. -W., Role of medulla oblongata in generation of sympathetic and vagal outflows, Brain Res. Rev., (in press) ;

3. Guyenet, P.G. and Stornetta, R.L., Central nervous system regulation of sympathetic and cardiovagal vasomotor outflows. In J. Biebuyck, C. Lynch, M. Maze, L.J. Seuidman, T.L. Yaksh and W. Zapol (Eds.), Anesthesia: Biologic Functions, Raven Press, New York, (in press) ;

4. Baraban, S. C., Stornetta, R. L. and Guyenet, P. G., Effects of morphine and morphine withdrawal on adrenergic neurons of the rat rostral ventrolateral medulla, Brain Res., 676 (1995) 245 ;

5. Guyenet, P. G., Stornetta, R. L., Riley, T., Norton, F. R., Rosin, D. L. and Lynch, K. R., Alpha 2A -adrenergic receptors are present in lower brainstem catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons innervating spinal cord, Brain Res., 638 (1994) 285

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