Primary Research Areas
Mechanisms and regulation of synaptic transmission in the central nervous system; the impact of stress and stress hormones on synaptic transmission and plasticity in monoaminergic nuclei; role of endogenous cannabinoids “endocannabinoids” in the regulation of neuronal excitability.
Fatty Acid Binding Protein (FABP) Inhibitors and Their Neurophysiological Effects on Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) Dopamine Neurons (funded by SUNY-REACH). The goal of this research into a brain area critically involved in the regulation of stress-related behaviors, such as addiction, is to develop pharmaceutical drugs that selectively target FABPs, intracellular transporters of eCB, and to test their in vitro neurophysiological effects on VTA DA neurons (in collaboration with Dr. Dale Deutsch, Stony Brook University).
Addiction Propensity After Prenatal Ethanol Exposure (funded by NIAAA). This study is taking a multidisciplinary approach to investigating the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on brain mechanisms that lead to increased risk of addiction later in life. The animal model utilized is anticipated to provide important insights into the risk factors of human addiction as well as better therapeutic strategies for behavioral problems associated with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (in collaboration with Principal Investigator Roh-Yu Shen, PhD and Co-Investigator Cynthia Dlugos, PhD, UB’s Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences).
Stress and Endocannabinoids Signaling in Serotonin Neurons (funded by NIMH). Investigating the role of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in regulation of stress responses and anxiety-related behaviors which play a role in addicted behaviors (in collaboration with Troy Wood, PhD, UB’s Department of Chemistry).
Dopamine Mechanisms and Receptors in Raphe 5-HT Neurons (funded by NIMH). Used electrophysiological, pharmacological, and immunohistochemical techniques to characterize the cellular mechanism by which D2-like dopamine receptor activation increases the excitability of dorsal Raphe nucleus serotonergic (5-HT) neurons.
Muscarinic Receptors in the Cerebral Cortex and Schizophrenia (funded by NARSAD). Investigated the neurophysiological effects of acetylcholine (an endogenous neurotransmitter) in the cerebral cortex.
Representative and Recent Publications
Hausknecht, K., Haj-Dahmane, S., & Shen, R. Y. (2013). Prenatal stress exposure increases the excitation of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area and alters their responses to psychostimulants. Neuropsychopharmacology, 38, 293-301.
Berger, W.T., Ralph, B.P., Kaczocha, M., Dun, J., Balius, T.E., Rizzo, R.C., Haj-Dahmane, S., Ojima, I., & Deutsch, D.G. (2012). Targeting fatty acid binding protein (FABP) anandamide transporters - a novel strategy for development of anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive drugs. PloS One, 7: e50968.
Wang, J., Shen, R.Y., & Haj-Dahmane, S. (2012). Endocannabinoids mediate the glucocorticoid-induced inhibition of excitatory synaptic transmission to dorsal raphe serotonin neurons. The Journal of Physiology, 590, 5795-5808.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Shen, R. Y. (2011). Modulation of the serotonin system by endocannabinoid signaling. Neuropharmacology,61,414-420.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Shen, R. Y. (2010). Regulation of plasticity of glutamate synapses by endocannabinoids and the cyclic-AMP/protein kinase A pathway in midbrain dopamine neurons. Journal of Physiology, 588.14, 2589-2604.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Shen, R. Y. (2009). Endocannabinoids suppress excitatory synaptic transmission to dorsal raphe serotonin neurons through the activation of presynaptic CB1 receptors, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Fast Forward, 2009 July 10; [Epub ahead of print]. Retrieved July 23, 2009 from http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/ .
Aman, R. K., Shen, R., & Haj-Dahmane, S. (2007). D2-like dopamine receptors depolarize dorsal raphe serotonin neurons through the activation of nonselective cationic conductance. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 320, 376-385.
Wang, J., Haj-Dahmane, S., & Shen, R. (2006). Effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on the excitability of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons in vitro. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 319, 857-863.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Shen, R. (2005). The wake-promoting peptide orexin-B inhibits glutamatergic transmission to dorsal raphe nucleus serontonin neurons through retrograde endocannabinoid signaling. Journal of Neuroscience, 25, 896-905.
Haj-Dahmane, S. (2001). D2-like dopamine receptor activation excites rat dorsal raphe 5-HT neurons in vitro. European Journal of Neuroscience, 14, 125-134.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Andrade, R. (1999). Muscarinic receptors regulate two different calcium-dependent cation nonselective currents in rat prefrontal cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience, 11, 1973-1980.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Andrade, R. (1998). Ionic mechanism of the slow afterdepolarization induced by muscarinic receptor activation in rat prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology, 80, 1197-1210.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Andrade, R. (1997). Calcium-activated cation nonselective current contributes to the fast afterdepolarization in rat prefrontal cortex neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 78, 1983-1989.
Haj-Dahmane, S., & Andrade, R. (1996). Muscarinic activation of a voltage sensitive cation non-selective current in rat association cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 16, 3848-3861.
Haj-Dahmane, S., Jolas, T., Laporte, A. M., Gozlan, H., Farre, A. J., Hamon, M., & Lanfumey, L. (1994). Interaction of lesopitron (E-4424) with central 5-HT1A receptors: in vivo and in vitro studies in the rat. European Journal of Pharmacology, 255, 185-196.
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