Jon Levine, MD, PhD

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Signal Transduction and Second Messenger Signaling in Pain Sensory Neurons; CNS Pain Control Mechanisms; Neural-Endocrine Control of Inflammation

Our laboratory employs a multidisciplinary approach of molecular, biochemical, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiological and behavioral techniques to evaluate mechanisms underlying pain and analgesia.

We are investigating signal transduction mechanisms for mechanical, thermal and chemical stimulus-induced activation of sensory neurons and mechanisms underlying sensitization of responses to these stimuli. We have recently described a novel transducer mechanism for mechanical stimuli. We have also described second messenger pathways mediating nociceptor sensitization in inflammatory and neuropathic pain. The modulation of transduction by opioids is also being investigated, including the mechanisms underlying opioid tolerance and dependence.

We also investigate CNS circuits that mediate analgesia and have recently described a novel analgesia circuit involving limbic pathways as well as sexual dimorphism in pain and analgesic mechanisms.

Finally, we are investigating neural and endocrine (stress axis) contributions to inflammation and the immune response. Our recent work has elucidated a physiological mechanism consisting of a negative feedback inhibition of the inflammatory response, involving neural and endocrine mechanisms.