Quick Project Snapshot

Modulation of intestinal inflammation through nerve stimulation

Neuromodulation (also known as electroceuticals) is a rapidly expanding field.  In this project, we are testing how this therapy can be applied to inflammatory bowel disease.

Program Leaders: Prof John Furness, Prof Robin McAllen and Dr Brid Callaghan

Contacts: Prof John Furness: john.furness@florey.edu.au

The innate immune system is the first response to invading pathogens.  When challenged, the host needs an adequate inflammatory reaction but also needs to prevent collateral damage to tissues due to excessive systemic spread of inflammation and release of inflammatory mediators. Excessive inflammation underlies the pathogenesis of a range of disease syndromes, including sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.  

In this project you will investigate the endogenous mechanisms that prevent or neutralize excessive proinflammatory responses.  This study aims to find novel therapeutic options for diseases associated with excessive or chronic inflammatory states. The project will include establishing animal models of gut inflammation, in vivo nerve recordings and histology.

Reading: Sun P, Zhou K, Wang S, Li P, Chen S, Lin G, Zhao Y & Wang T. Involvement of MAPK/NF-κB signaling in the activation of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway in experimental colitis by chronic vagus nerve stimulation. PLoS One 8, e69424 (2013).

Systems Neurophysiology

In Systems Neurophysiology we seek to learn how the nervous system controls various bodily functions and how that control is altered in disease. Our disease focus includes not only neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, but also how the nervous system impacts on non-neurological diseases such as heart failure and inflammatory diseases.  A clear understanding of basic mechanisms is crucial in developing better therapies and reducing the impacts of illness. 

All Labs that operate in this Division

Autonomic Neuroscience LaboratoryDigestive Physiology and Nutrition LaboratoryNeurocardiovascular LaboratoryNeurovascular Biology LaboratoryRespiratory Neurophysiology LaboratoryViscerosensory Laboratory