CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center
Brain Research Institute
Adjunct Associate Professor,
Department of Medicine
Dr. Marvizóns research field is the neurophysiology of pain and analgesia. His overall research goal is investigating cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate central sensitization in the spinal cord. Central sensitization is a process that underlies numerous chronic pain disorders, including functional bowel disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Recent discoveries have revealed the important role played by substance P and its receptor, the neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptor, in mediating central sensitization. In contrast, opioid neuropeptides act on mu, delta and kappa opioid receptors to produce analgesia. Dr. Marvizón has utilized a new methodology for measuring the activation of neuropeptide receptors by their internalization. Internalization of neurokinin 1 receptors or mu-opioid receptors is detected using immunohistochemistry with antibodies against these receptors. Electrophysiology is used to deliver precise electrical stimulation to spinal cord slices or to live animals while performing intracellular and axonal recordings to monitor neuronal activity evoked by the stimulation. Animal behavioral responses to pain are measured as well and correlated with receptor internalization.