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Edson X. Albuquerque

Edson X. Albuquerque M.D., Ph.D.

Academic Title: Professor
Primary Appointment: Epidemiology & Public Health
Secondary Appointments: Medicine, Pharmacology
Administrative Title: Division Head, Environmental & Translational Toxicology-Epi
Location: MSTF, 902
Phone: (410) 706-7065

Personal History:

Dr. Edson Xavier de Albuquerque, born in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, earned his M.D. degree from the Sch.Med., Fed. Univ. of Pernambuco in 1959, and earned his Ph.D. degree summa cum laude in Physiol. Pharmacol. from the Dept. of Biochem., Biophys. & Pharmacol. at the "Escola Paulista de Medicina" in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1962. Postdoctoral studies followed at Tulane University, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Univ. Illinois under the guidance of Prof. Klaus Unna, and at the Univ. Lund (Sweden) with Dr. Stephen Thesleff, at the Karolinska Inst. in Stockholm with Dr. David Ottoson, and at the Dept. of Anatomy at Umea with Dr. Ebba Cedergren.

In 1968, he was offered an Honor Position as a Buswell Fellow at the Univ. Buffalo to join the active group of Sir John Eccles, Prof. Eric Barnard and Prof. David Triggle. He established his own laboratory, developed a number of fundamental studies in the field of neuromuscular transmission, and discovered the properties of many toxins which are used as tools for the characterization of the function of nicotinic receptors in the neuromuscular junction. He was promoted rapidly, receiving by 1972 the position of Prof., and by 1973, Prof. Acting Chair of Pharmacology.

In 1974, Dr. Albuquerque accepted the post of Professor & Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore. There he established his laboratory for electrophysiological studies of synaptic transmission and developed the department, which grew from an anonymous department of cell biology to one internationally recognized for its excellence and bringing in a very high level of research funding.

Dr. Albuquerque has received international recognition for his electrophysiological research on neurotransmitter receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, including the the Order of the Grand Cross and the Rio Branco Award from Brazil, and in the United States, from the NIH the prestigious Jacob Javits Award Neuroscience Research Award and the Otto Krayer Award from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Research Interests:

Nicotinic and glutamatergic synapses in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) are known to be involved in cognition, learning, and memory, as well as several pathological conditions, e.g. Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. Nicotinic receptors are known to play a key role in the control of neuronal function in the hippocampus and many other brain areas. Studies carried out in our laboratory have been directed at characterizing the diversity, ontogenesis, function, and pharmacological properties of nicotinic receptors in the CNS. Toward these aims we have applied different modalities of the patch-clamp technique to hippocampal neurons, in cultures, in brain slices or acutely dissociated, and to cell lines expressing different receptor subtypes.

Studies of the effects of different toxicants, including the heavy metal lead and of organophosphorus compounds, including nerve agents and insecticides, on neuronal functions in vitro and in vivo are also an important part of our ongoing research.

Studies of neuronal nicotinic receptors have been rather complex. Based on the analysis of nicotinic whole-cell currents evoked in hippocampal neurons, we have learned that at least three types of nicotinic receptors can be expressed in these neurons: (i) alpha-BGT-sensitive nAChRs, which may bear the alpha7 nAChR subunit; (ii) mecamylamine-sensitive nAChRs, which may be composed of the nAChR-subunit combination alpha3beta2; and (iii) dihydro-beta-erythroidine sensitive nAChRs, which may be made up of the nAChR-subunit combination alpha4beta2. We have demonstrated that the most predominant subtype of neuronal nAChR expressed in hippocampal neurons is highly sensitive to alpha-bungarotoxin, has low affinity for ACh, and desensitizes extremely rapidly. So far, using a system of fast drug delivery that had to be developed to analyze properly the fast kinetic properties of this receptor, we have obtained evidence suggesting that this receptor type may be involved in processes in which a sharp increase in the intracellular concentrations of calcium plays a key role.

We have provided evidence for the existence of endogenous modulators of nicotinic receptor activity in different areas of the brain. Our research has also laid the groundwork for the development of a new class of drugs for treatment of Alzheimer's disease - the so-called "nicotinic allosteric potentiating ligands, of which galantamine is the prototype.

Research in the laboratory continues to have a largely translational component to aid in the development of potential treatments for neuropathological conditions that afflict millions worldwide.

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

Electrophysiological recording (whole cell and single channel patch clamp) from hippocampal neurons (in cultures, in slices or acutely dissociated); infrared-assisted videomicroscopy coupled with computerized micromanipulators; organotypic cultures of hippocampal slices and septum-hippocampal co-cultures.


Prenatal Exposure of Guinea Pigs to the Organophosphorus Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Disrupts the Structural and Functional Integrity of the Brain. Roger J Mullins, Su Xu, Edna F R Pereira, Joseph D Pescrille, Spencer W Todd, Jacek Mamczarz, Edson X Albuquerque, Rao P Gullapalli,   NeuroToxicology 02/2015; 48. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2015.02.002

Functional G-protein-coupled receptor 35 is expressed by neurons in the CA1 field of the hippocampus. Manickavasagom Alkondon, Edna F R Pereira, Spencer W Todd, William R Randall, Malcolm V. Lane, Edson X Albuquerque Biochemical Pharmacology 12/2014; 93(4). DOI:10.1016/j.bcp.2014.12.009

Galantamine Prevents Long-Lasting Suppression of Excitatory Synaptic Transmission in CA1 Pyramidal Neurons of Soman-Challenged Guinea Pigs. E A Alexandrova, M Alkondon, Y Aracava, E F R Pereira, E X Albuquerque NeuroToxicology 07/2014; 44. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2014.07.005

Animal Models That Best Reproduce the Clinical Manifestations of Human Intoxication with Organophosphorus Compounds. Edna F R Pereira, Yasco Aracava, Louis J DeTolla, E Jeffrey Beecham, G William Basinger, Edgar J Wakayama, Edson X. Albuquerque. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 06/2014; 350(2). DOI:10.1124/jpet.114.214932

Contribution of CA3 and CA1 pyramidal neurons to the tonic 7 nAChR-dependent glutamatergic input to CA1 pyramidal neurons. Jyotirmoy Banerjee, Manickavasagom Alkondon, Edson X Albuquerque, Edna F R Pereira Neuroscience Letters 08/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2013.08.025

Acetylcholinesterase inhibition reveals endogenous nicotinic modulation of glutamate inputs to CA1 stratum radiatum interneurons in hippocampal slices Manickavasagom Alkondon, Edson X Albuquerque, Edna F R Pereira NeuroToxicology 03/2013; 36. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.02.005

Delayed hippocampal effects from a single exposure of prepubertal guinea pigs to sub-lethal dose of chlorpyrifos: A magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy study. Roger J Mullins, Su Xu, Edna F R Pereira, Jacek Mamczarz, Edson X Albuquerque, Rao P Gullapalli. NeuroToxicology 02/2013; 36. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.02.002

Kynurenic acid as an Antagonist of a7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in the Brain: Facts and Challenges. Edson X Albuquerque, Robert Schwarcz Biochemical pharmacology 12/2012; DOI:10.1016/j.bcp.2012.12.014

Kynurenic acid inhibits glutamatergic transmission to CA1 pyramidal neurons via a7 nAChR-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Jyotirmoy Banerjee, Manickavasagom Alkondon, Edson X Albuquerque. Biochemical pharmacology 08/2012; 84(8):1078-87. DOI:10.1016/j.bcp.2012.07.030

Regulation of GABAergic Inputs to CA1 Pyramidal Neurons by Nicotinic Receptors and Kynurenic Acid. Jyotirmoy Banerjee, Manickavasagom Alkondon, Edna F R Pereira, Edson X Albuquerque. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 02/2012; 341(2):500-9.  DOI:10.1124/jpet.111.189860

Galantamine counteracts development of learning impairment in guinea pigs exposed to the organophosphorus poison soman: Clinical significance. Jacek Mamczarz, Girish S Kulkarni, Edna F R Pereira, Edson X Albuquerque.NeuroToxicology 07/2011; 32(6):785-98. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2011.07.001

Endogenous activation of nAChRs and NMDA receptors contributes to the excitability of CA1 stratum radiatum interneurons in rat hippocampal slices: Effects of kynurenic acid. Manickavasagom Alkondon, Edna F R Pereira, Edson X Albuquerque. Biochemical pharmacology 06/2011; 82(8):842-51. DOI:10.1016/j.bcp.2011.06.004

Age Dependency of Inhibition of alpha 7 Nicotinic Receptors and Tonically Active N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptors by Endogenously Produced Kynurenic Acid in the Brain. Manickavasagom Alkondon, Edna F R Pereira, Howard M Eisenberg, Yasushi Kajii, Robert Schwarcz, Edson X Albuquerque. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 05/2011; 337(3):572-82. DOI:10.1124/jpet.110.177386

Localization by site-directed mutagenesis of a galantamine binding site on a7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor extracellular domain. J. Ludwig, Anja Höffle-Maas, Marek Samochocki, Edgar Luttmann, Edson X Albuquerque, Gregor Fels, Alfred Maelicke. Journal of Receptor and Signal Transduction Research 11/2010; 30(6):469-83. DOI:10.3109/10799893.2010.505239 · 1.61

Pretreatment of Guinea Pigs with Galantamine Prevents Immediate and Delayed Effects of Soman on Inhibitory Synaptic Transmission in the Hippocampus. Elena A Alexandrova, Yasco Aracava, Edna F R Pereira, Edson X Albuquerque. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 09/2010; 334(3):1051-8. DOI:10.1124/jpet.110.167700

Reduction of endogenous kynurenic acid formation enhances extracellular glutamate, hippocampal plasticity, and cognitive behavior. Michelle C Potter, Greg I Elmer, Richard Bergeron, Edson X Albuquerque, Paolo Guidetti, Hui-Qiu Wu, Robert Schwarcz. Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 03/2010; 35(8):1734-42. DOI:10.1038/npp.2010.39

Effectiveness of Donepezil, Rivastigmine, and (+/-)Huperzine A in Counteracting the Acute Toxicity of Organophosphorus Nerve Agents: Comparison with Galantamine. Yasco Aracava, Edna F R Pereira, Miriam Akkerman, Michael Adler, Edson X Albuquerque. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 10/2009; 331(3):1014-24. DOI:10.1124/jpet.109.160028

An acute exposure to a sub-lethal dose of soman triggers anxiety-related behavior in guinea pigs: Interactions with acute restraint. Jacek Mamczarz, Edna F R Pereira, Yasco Aracava, Michael Adler, Edson X Albuquerque. NeuroToxicology 10/2009; 31(1):77-84. DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2009.10.012 ·

The astrocyte-derived alpha7 nicotinic receptor antagonist kynurenic acid controls extracellular glutamate levels in the prefrontal cortex.  Hui-Qiu Wu, Edna F R Pereira, John P Bruno, Roberto Pellicciari, Edson X Albuquerque, Robert Schwarcz.  Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 09/2009; 40(1-2):204-10. DOI:10.1007/s12031-009-9235-2