studies and interests in my research laboratory include
We are assessing in mice, lithium as a potential
neuroprotective therapeutic agent for spatial memory
diseases, and assessing a role for lithium as a learning
and memory enhancer (i.e. looking at relationships that
exist with beta amyloid peptide, glycogen synthase kinase-3ß,
estrogen, cAMP response element binding protein (CREB)
& lithium). For example, one of our studies uses
a post menopausal mouse model. This study is to determine
if Li can work synergistically with estrogens (specifically
E2) to enhance learning and memory. The study includes
examining the impact this relationship has in the hippocampus,
as well as examining the extent of CREB phosphorylation.
We hypothesize a synergistic relationship between Li
and E2 and predict learning and memory enhancement (e.g.
in object recognition tasks). We are using bilaterally
ovariectomized and aging C57BL/6J mice to test our hypotheses.
In the mid 90’s, lithium was identified as a direct
and selective inhibitor of an enzyme (GSK-3b) that is
involved in many intracellular signaling systems. Some
of these systems regulate critical brain functions (e.g.
cell survival, neuronal plasticity and learning).
We have an interest in neural-immune interactions (identifying
astroglial chemokine receptors in cultured rat brain
cells), and we have done some preliminary studies to
this effect. We have used immunocytochemical techniques
in primary cell cultures to identify the distribution
of four chemokine receptors (CKR) in rodent types 1
& 2 astroglia from spatially distinct CNS regions.
Chemokine receptors and CD4 receptors are important
co-receptors for HIV-1 fusion and subsequent entry into
target cells. Although most brain cells lack CD4 receptors,
HIV-1 may still gain entry with the assistance of chemokine
receptors present on these cells.
We have an interest in using rats to study the role
of thyroid hormone (TH) and thyroid hormone receptors
in the regenerating sciatic nerve, and we have done
some preliminary studies in adult male and female rats.
We have used radioimmunoassay to measure circulating
TH [triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4)] concentrations,
as well as sciatic functional indices (SFI) to determine
functional recovery during stages of sciatic nerve regeneration,
after induced nerve crush. The importance of thyroid
hormones and thyroid hormone receptors in the development
of the CNS is well documented. However, a role for thyroid
hormones in the peripheral nervous system has not been
Huang, Ming-Bo, Ophelia Weeks, Ling, Jun-Zhao, Mary
Saltarelli and Vincent Bond (2000) Effects of extracellular
human immunodeficiency virus type 1 vpr protein in primary
rat cortical cell cultures. J NeuroVirol 6:202-220.
Enrione, E.B., O.I. Weeks and S. Kranz, J. Shen (1999)
A Vitamin E deficient diet affects nerve regeneration
in rats. Nutrition 15:140-144.
Gordon, K.R., C. Levy, M. Perl and O. Weeks (1994)
Experimental perturbation of the development of sexual
size dimorphism in the mouse skeleton. Growth, Dev and
Gordon, Kenneth R., Cesar Levy, Mordechai Perl and
Ophelia I. Weeks (1993) Adaptive modeling in a mammalian
skeletal model system. Growth Dev and Aging 57:101-110.
Weeks, O. I. (1989) Vertebrate skeletal muscle: power
source for locomotion. Bioscience 39:791-799.
Weeks, O. I. and A. W. English (1989) Electromyographic
cross-talk within a compartmentalized muscle of the
cat. J Physiology 416:327-336.