Jessenius Faculty of Medicine
in Martin
Comenius University in Bratislava

research activities

Main focus

MAIN RESEARCH FOCUS

The research staff of Department of Pathophysiology performs research in following fields:

1. Regulation of airway defensive reflexes, with the focus on cough.

2. Morphological and functional analysis of vagal afferent fibres innervating respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. 

At the moment, new research proposals have been submitted to funding agencies: 

3. 24-hour analysis of cough frequency in clinical settings.

4. Mechanisms of pruritus resistant to treatment.

Division of Neuroscience in Pathophysiology focuses on certain pathogenic aspects of initiation and progression of Parkinson’s disease:

-          the role of lipid metabolism in neuronal cell lines, 

-          temporal relationships of molecular changes related to Parkinson’s disease at different levels of central neural system in murine model, 

-          fluorescence life-time imaging as a tool in early detection of aggregates of α-synuclein in cell lines and peripheral neurons.

The research is performed on suitable animal models and in clinical translational studies, at the moment the main attention is given to:

Ad 1.  

-          mechanisms of gender dimorphism of cough reflex in translational studies,

-          development and validation of model of allergic airway inflammation using antigens of house dust mites,

-          mechanism of changed sensitivity of cough reflex in children with upper airways diseases in cooperation with Clinic of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery and Paediatric Clinic of Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin,

-          study of cough reflex sensitivity in children with asthma after provocation tests in cooperation with Šrobár’s Institute of Children Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases in Dolný Smokovec.

Ad 2.

-          molecular mechanisms of changed reactivity of vagal afferent fibres (nociceptors) in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, which are responsible for visceral pain and complex mapping of afferent vagal innervation of guinea pig and murine airways with cooperation with Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MA, USA,

-          mechanisms of oesophageal dis-motility in subjects with gastroesophageal reflux disease in cooperation with Clinic of Gastroenterological Internal Medicine of Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin,

-          study of changes in expression of main neurotrophic factors and their receptors in the afferent nerves in the urinary bladder after the damage/injury of the spinal cord in cooperation with Clinic of Urology, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin.

Our laboratories use these methods/equipment: 

-          set for study of cough and bronchial reactivity in guinea pigs, 

-          set for study of cough sensitivity in humans,

-          extracellular electrophysiology of single fibres in ex-vivo model of innervated guinea pig oesophagus,

-          retrograde tracing of vagal afferents innervating oesophagus in the guinea pig vagal ganglia,

-          single cell RT-PCR of vagal ganglia neurons,

-          confocal and multiphoton microscopy, 

-          high-resolution oesophageal manometry.

Significant scientific results

SIGNIFICANT SCIENTIFIC RESULTS

Identification and description of expiration reflex in laboratory animals and its confirmation in humans (Prof. Juraj Korpáš, MD. PhD., awarded by Czechoslovak State Award) Publications 1

Original experimental knowledge on various subtypes of lower airway vagal afferents (rapidly adapting, slowly adapting, C fibers), gastrointestinal and cardiac vagal afferents in the onset and modulation of cough in cooperation with St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London and University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, USA). Publications 2

Priority knowledge on up-regulation and down-regulation of cough by hypoxia, hypercapnia, hyperoxia and sulphur dioxide. Publications 3

Original knowledge on mechanisms responsible for modulation of cough in subjects with pathological processes in the nasal cavity. Publications 4

Original knowledge on changes of cough reflex sensitivity in human subjects with pathological processes in the airways, esophagus and skin. Publications 5

Original knowledge on neuropharmacology of visceral nerves mediating pain (nociceptors) using ex vivo extracellular recording of neural activity from individual vagal fibers in cooperation with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA). Publications 6

Original knowledge on phenotypes and neurotrophic regulation of vagal and spinal visceral nociceptors obtained by unique method of single cell RT-PCR in cooperation with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA). Publications 7

Mechanisms of motility dysregulation of upper GIT in humans. Publications 8

International partnership

International partnership


Prof. B. J. Undem, PhD,

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology,

Rm 2A.62 The Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center

5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle

Baltimore, MD 21224

USA


Prof. A. H. Morice, MD, PhD,

Division of Academic Medicine

Castle Hill Hospital,

University of Hull,

Castle Road, Cottingham,

East Yorkshire HU16 5JQ

UK


Prof. Francois Marchal, MD,

Laboratoire de Physiologie,

Falulté de Médecine

Avenue de la Foret de Haye

F-54505 Vandoeuvre les Nancy

France


Prof. M. Pokorski, MD, PhD, 

Mossakowski Medical Research Centre

Polish Academy of Sciences

02-106 Warsaw, 5 Pawinskiego Street

Poland


Assoc Prof. B.J. Canning, PhD, 

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology,

Rm 2A.62 The Johns Hopkins Asthma & Allergy Center

5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle

Baltimore, MD 21224

USA


Assoc Prof. Woo-Jung Song, MD, PhD,

Department of Internal Medicine

Seoul National University College of Medicine

Seoul

Korea