My laboratory is
interested in understanding the complex interactions between the immune system
and the brain, with an emphasis on inflammation-induced neuropsychiatric and
neurodevelopmental diseases. We have identified the kynurenine pathway of
tryptophan metabolism as an important mediator of the effects of
proinflammatory factors in the brain. Currently projects in the lab are
exploring the (1) effects of neurotoxic kynurenine metabolites on depressive
behaviors and cognitive function (2) the neurodevelopmental consequences of
targeted deletion of the kynurenine metabolizing enzyme KMO (3) and the role of
brain-derived neurotrophic factor in regulating neuroinflammation.
Li X, Redus L, Chen C, Martinez PA, Strong R, Li S, O'Connor JC. Cognitive dysfunction precedes the onset of motor symptoms in the MitoPark mouse model of Parkinson's disease. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 15;8(8):e71341.
Lawson MA, Parrott JM, McCusker RH, Dantzer R, Kelley KW, O'Connor JC. Intracerebroventricular administration of lipopolysaccharide induces indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase-dependent depression-like behaviors. J Neuroinflammation. 2013 Jul 18;10(1):87.
Salazar A, Gonzalez-Rivera BL, Redus L, Parrott JM, O'Connor JC. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase mediates anhedonia and anxiety-like behaviors caused by peripheral lipopolysaccharide immune challenge. Horm Behav. 2012 Aug;62(3):202-9.
O'Connor JC, Lawson MA, André C, Moreau M, Lestage J, Castanon N, Kelley KW, Dantzer R. Lipopolysaccharide-induced depressive-like behavior is mediated by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activation in mice. Mol Psychiatry. 2009 May;14(5):511-22. doi: 10.1038/sj.mp.4002148.
Dantzer R, O'Connor JC, Freund GG, Johnson RW, Kelley KW. From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jan;9(1):46-56.