Neil L. Harrison, PhD

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Overview

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Anesthesiology
  • Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Administrative Titles

  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Pharmacology

Gender

  • Male

Research

The Harrison laboratory is interested in synaptic transmission, especially at inhibitory synapses, which are necessary for the normal processing of information in the mammalian brain. Failure of synaptic inhibition leads to epilepsy, while enhancement of synaptic inhibition is associated with reduced anxiety, muscle relaxation, sedation, hypnosis and anesthesia. The lab studies the details of inhibitory synaptic function, its modulation and plasticity, using a variety of modern electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques. Projects within the lab study these synapses at several different levels of organization, including brain slice, single cell and subcellular preparations. A major focus of the lab is on the GABA-A receptor, the principal receptor protein at inhibitory synapses in the brain. The lab personnel include physiologists, biophysicists, molecular biologists and pharmacologists.

Research Interests

  • Biophysics/Ion Channels
  • Synapses and Circuits
  • Cellular/Molecular/Developmental Neuroscience

Grants

PREFRONTAL CORTEX AND ADOLESCENT BINGE DRINKING: ROLE OF HCN CHANNELS (Federal Gov)

Feb 15 2015 - Jan 31 2021

ALCOHOL ACTIONS-MOLECULAR TARGETS ON BRAIN PROTEINS (Federal Gov)

Jun 1 2016 - May 31 2019

IMPACT OF ADOLESCENT ALCOHOL ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX (Federal Gov)

Feb 1 2017 - Jan 31 2019

FUNCTIONALLY SELECTIVE D2R S, STRIATAL CIRCUIT FUNCTION AND MOTIVATION (Federal Gov)

May 20 2016 - Mar 31 2017

MEDIUM SPINY NEURON EXCITABILITY AND MOTIVATION (Federal Gov)

May 20 2011 - Sep 30 2016

ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL AND TONIC INHIBITION IN THE THALAMUS. (Federal Gov)

Sep 16 2013 - Sep 15 2015

MECHANISMS OF ANESTHETIC EFFECTS ON TACHYKININ INDUCED AIRWAY TONE (Federal Gov)

Jun 1 2011 - May 31 2015

ALCOHOL AND DOPAMINE RELEASE: CELLULAR AND SYNAPTIC MECHANISMS (Federal Gov)

Jul 15 2010 - Apr 30 2015

ALCOHOL AND INHIBITION IN THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX (Federal Gov)

Sep 30 2012 - Sep 29 2014

ETHANOL MODULATION OF GLYCINE RECEPTOR MEDIATED CURRENTS IN THE STRIATUM (Federal Gov)

Sep 1 2013 - Apr 30 2014

ALCOHOL AND GABA IN THE THALAMUS (Federal Gov)

Apr 1 2007 - Mar 31 2012

ALCOHOL, GILAL GENE EXPRESSION AND THE HEAT SHOCK PATHWAY (Federal Gov)

Sep 30 2009 - Aug 31 2011

Selected Publications

  • Dixon CL, Harrison NL, Lynch JW, Keramidas A. (2015). Zolpidem and eszopiclone prime α1β2γ2 GABAA receptors for longer duration of activity. Br J Pharmacol. 172, 3522-3536. doi: 10.1111/bph.13142.
  • Coutts DJ, Harrison NL. (2015). Acetaldehyde, not ethanol, impairs myelin formation and viability in primary mouse oligodendrocytes. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 39, 455-462. doi: 10.1111/acer.12642.
  • Mrejeru A, Martí-Prats L, Avegno EM, Harrison NL, Sulzer D. (2015). A subset of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons responds to acute ethanol. Neuroscience. 290:649-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.12.081.
  • Gallo EF, Salling MC, Feng B, Morón JA, Harrison NL, Javitch JA, Kellendonk C. (2015). Upregulation of dopamine d2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens indirect pathway increases locomotion but does not reduce alcohol consumption. Neuropsychopharmacology. 40,1609-18. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.11.
  • Salling MC, Harrison NL. (2014). Strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors on pyramidal neurons in layers II/III of the mouse prefrontal cortex are tonically activated. J Neurophysiol. 112, 1169-1178. doi: 10.1152/jn.00714.2013.
  • Varodayan FP, Harrison NL. (2013). HSF1 transcriptional activity mediates alcohol induction of Vamp2 expression and GABA release. Front Integr Neurosci. 7:89. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2013.00089. eCollection 2013.
  • Pignataro L, Varodayan FP, Tannenholz LE, Protiva P, Harrison NL. (2013). Brief alcohol exposure alters transcription in astrocytes via the heat shock pathway. Brain Behav. 3, 114-133. doi: 10.1002/brb3.125.
  • Mintz CD, Barrett KM, Smith SC, Benson DL, Harrison NL. (2013). Anesthetics interfere with axon guidance in developing mouse neocortical neurons in vitro via a γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptor mechanism. Anesthesiology. 118, 825-833. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e318287b850.
  • Cazorla M, Shegda M, Ramesh B, Harrison NL, Kellendonk C. (2012). Striatal D2 receptors regulate dendritic morphology of medium spiny neurons via Kir2 channels. J Neurosci. 32, 2398-409. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6056-11.2012.
  • Varodayan FP, Pignataro L, Harrison NL. (2011). Alcohol induces synaptotagmin 1 expression in neurons via activation of heat shock factor 1. Neuroscience. 193, 63-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.
  • Blednov YA, Borghese CM, McCracken ML, Benavidez JM, Geil CR, Osterndorff-Kahanek E, Werner DF, Iyer S, Swihart A, Harrison NL, Homanics GE, Harris RA. (2011). Loss of ethanol conditioned taste aversion and motor stimulation in knockin mice with ethanol-insensitive α2-containing GABA(A) receptors. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 336, 145-154. doi: 10.1124/jpet.110.171645.
  • Werner DF, Swihart A, Rau V, Jia F, Borghese CM, McCracken ML, Iyer S, Fanselow MS, Oh I, Sonner JM, Eger EI 2nd, Harrison NL, Harris RA, Homanics GE. (2011). Inhaled anesthetic responses of recombinant receptors and knockin mice harboring α2(S270H/L277A) GABA(A) receptor subunits that are resistant to isoflurane. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 336, 134-144. doi: 10.1124/jpet.110.170431.
  • Keramidas A, Harrison NL. (2010). The activation mechanism of alpha1beta2gamma2S and alpha3beta3gamma2S GABAA receptors. J Gen Physiol. 135, 59-75. doi: 10.1085/jgp.200910317.
  • Belelli D, Harrison NL, Maguire J, Macdonald RL, Walker MC, Cope DW. (2009). Extrasynaptic GABAA receptors: form, pharmacology, and function. J Neurosci. 29, 12757-12763. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3340-09.2009. Review.
  • Pignataro L, Varodayan FP, Tannenholz LE, Harrison NL. (2009). The regulation of neuronal gene expression by alcohol. Pharmacol Ther. 124, 324-335. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.09.002.
  • Jia F., Goldstein P.A. and Harrison N.L. (2009) Modulation of synaptic GABAA Receptors in the thalamus by eszopiclone and zolpidem. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 328, 1000-1006.
  • Belelli D., Harrison N.L., Maguire J., Macdonald R.L., Walker M.C. and Cope D.W. (2009) Extrasynaptic GABAA Receptors: Form, Pharmacology and Function. (Mini-review). Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 12757-12763.
  • Pignataro L., Varodayan F.P., Tannenholz L.E. and Harrison N.L. (2009) The regulation of neuronal gene expression by alcohol. Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 124, 324-335.
  • Keramidas A. and Harrison N.L. (2010) The activation mechanism of α1β2γ2 and α3β3γ2 GABAA receptors. Journal of General Physiology, 135, 59-75.
  • Cazorla M., Shegda M., Harrison N.L. and Kellendonk C. (2012) Striatal D2 receptors regulate dendritic morphology of medium spiny neurons via Kir2 channels. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 2398-2409.
  • Ganat Y.M.,. Calder, E.L., Kriks S., Nelander J., Tu E.Y., Jia F., Battista, D., Harrison N.L., Parmar M., Tomishima M.J., Rutishauser U. and Studer L. (2012). Identification of embryonic stem cell–derived midbrain dopaminergic neurons for engraftment  J Clin Invest. 2012; 122(8):2928–2939 doi:10.1172/JCI58767.
  • Mintz C.D., Barrett K., Smith S.C., Benson D. and Harrison N.L. (2013). Anesthetics interfere with axon guidance in developing mouse neocortical neurons via a GABAA receptor mechanism. Anesthesiology, 118, 825-33.
  • Pignataro L., Varodayan F.P., Tannenholz L.E., Protiva P. and Harrison N.L. (2013). Brief alcohol exposure alters transcription in astrocytes via the heat shock pathway. Brain and Behavior, 3, 114-133.
  • Varodayan F.P., and Harrison N.L. (2013). HSF1 transcriptional activity mediates alcohol induction of VAMP2 and GABA release. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 7, 89: 1-8.