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Welcome to the Bourque Lab

We study how the brain monitors body hydration, salt and temperature. We seek to define how networks of thermosensitive and osmosensitive neurons work together with clock neurons and astrocytes to regulate the sensation of thirst, release of antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin), and vascular tone. Defects in osmoregulation are hallmarks of many clinical conditions, including dehydration, heart failure and sepsis. Moreover changes in osmoregulation likely link dietary salt intake to many forms of hypertension. Some of the things we are investigating:

Mechanisms of sodium detection, thermosensation and osmoreception
Glial taurine and neuronal firing in osmoregulatory nuclei
burst firing
Glial plasticity and neuronal signaling
Clock neurons & circadian rhythms
Control of burst firing
Local signaling in dendrites
TRPV1 and TRPV4 ion channels
Cytoskeleton and mechanosensation
Osmoregulatory circuits & septicemia
Impact of chronic high salt intake on osmoregulatory circuits

supraoptic nucleus

The supraoptic nucleus features glial cells (blue) intermingled with neurons secreting oxytocin and vasopressin (yellow).


neuroscience, electrophysiology, pharmacology, biophysics, patch-clamp, optogenetics, synaptic transmission, synapse, glia, glial cells, gliotransmission, taurine, glycine, glycine receptor, volume regulated anion channel, neuron, vasopressin, oxytocin, neurohypophysis, pituitary, endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, cytoskeleton, actin, microtubules, mechanotransduction, mechanosensitivity, osmolality, osmotic, osmosensing, osmosensory, osmoreceptor, NMDA, GABA osmoreception, osmoregulation, peptide, neuropeptide, thirst, diuresis, natriuresis, salt appetite, salt sensing, sodium sensing, transient receptor potential, TRP, TRPV, trpv1, trpv2, trpv3, trpv4, trpa1, vanilloid, burst, bursting, rhythms, phasic, depolarizing after-potential, plateau, dendrite, dendritic, autocrine, neurosecretion, nerve terminal, axon terminal, action potential, graduate studies, postdoctoral studies, postdoc, imaging, calcium, calcium channel, calcium imaging, single channel, dehydration, hyponatremia, hypernatremia, hypertension, diabetes insipidus, circadian rhythms.

Last update: September 27, 2017
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