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Ralph Norgren

TitleProfessor
InstitutionCollege of Medicine
DepartmentNeural and Behavioral Sciences
Address500 University Drive Hershey PA 17033
Mailbox: H181
Phone7175316921

 Overview 
 overview
PREFERRED TITLE/ROLE:

Professor of Neural and Behavioral Science

GRADUATE PROGRAM AFFILIATIONS:

Neuroscience, MD/PhD Degree Program, Integrative Biosciences
EDUCATION:

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1969
Postdoctoral Training, Rockefeller University, 1969-1971

NARRATIVE:

Gustatory stimuli are easily specifiable chemicals that elicit reliable ingestion and rejection in many species, and therefore provide a convenient probe for investigating the neural control of the motivated behavior associated with energy, water, and electrolyte regulation. My initial anatomical and electrophysiological research provided the first thorough description of the central gustatory system in any species. Unlike most exteroceptive sensory systems, the gustatory system in rats has more or less direct (dysynaptic) contact with both the thalamo-cortical axis and the limbic system. In fact, the second central gustatory relay in the pontine parabrachial nuclei projects to the thalamic gustatory relay, the hypothalamus, and the amygdala. Subsequent research established that similar pathways also transmit viscerosensory information relayed to the brain over the glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves. Until this complex sensory system had been delineated, research on limbic system mechanisms was hampered by the paucity of direct sensory input or motor output. The only direct way into the limbic system was via the olfactory bulb; the only way out, via the pituitary. Determining the functions and the connections of the parabrachial nuclei has revealed a major route through which sensory information important in autonomic, neuroendocrine, and behavioral responses reach the ventral forebrain.

In a hungry animal, the sensory message resulting from sucrose on the tongue elicits ingestion. In a sated one, the same sensory message can result in rejection. The gastrointestinal events that induce such a switch in behavior include a complex of neural, hormonal, and humoral factors. Primary gustatory axons have their first central synapse in the medulla, as do vagal sensory neurons that contribute some of the gastrointestinal feedback that signals satiety. Ingestion and rejection behaviors themselves are generated by the oral motor nuclei of the medulla and pons. Thus the brainstem includes the sensory, motor, and integrative apparatus necessary to support the rudiments of an important motivated behavior, ingestion. My current research employs anatomical, electrophysiological, and behavioral techniques to analyze the neural components underlying this fundamental behavioral decision, whether to ingest or reject the contents of the oral cavity.

Recently, my laboratory has paid particular attention to characterizing the functions of the brainstem gustatory relay nuclei in awake, behaving rats. This has been accomplished using a combination of lesion-behavioral studies and electrophysiological experiments that test a variety of taste-guided behaviors. We have determined that the gustatory nuclei in the medulla, pons, and thalamus play distinctly different roles in processing taste information. Lesions of the pontine parabrachial nuclei, the second central gustatory relay, block the acquisition of a learned taste aversion and the expression of sodium appetite. Damage to either the first central relay in the medulla or to the thalamic taste area has little or no effect on these behaviors. Because the parabrachial nuclei project to the limbic system, our working hypothesis is that these complex, taste-guided ingestive behaviors are more dependent on this ventral forebrain interaction than on thalamocortical processing.


 Bibliographic 
 selected publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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  1. Foo H, Norgren R. Concentration and state dependent reductions in corn oil intakes after glossopharyngeal nerve transections in rats. Physiol Behav. 2014 Apr 10; 128:166-71.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Dayawansa S, Ruch S, Norgren R. Parabrachial-hypothalamic interactions are required for normal conditioned taste aversions. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Feb; 306(3):R190-200.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Stricker EM, Grigson PS, Norgren R. Variable effects of parabrachial nucleus lesions on salt appetite in rats depending upon experimental paradigm and saline concentration. Behav Neurosci. 2013 Apr; 127(2):275-84.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Liang NC, Grigson PS, Norgren R. Pontine and thalamic influences on fluid rewards: II. Sucrose and corn oil conditioned aversions. Physiol Behav. 2012 Jan 18; 105(2):589-94.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Liang NC, Norgren R, Grigson PS. Pontine and thalamic influences on fluid rewards: III. Anticipatory contrast for sucrose and corn oil. Physiol Behav. 2012 Jan 18; 105(2):595-606.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Liang NC, Freet CS, Grigson PS, Norgren R. Pontine and thalamic influences on fluid rewards: I. Operant responding for sucrose and corn oil. Physiol Behav. 2012 Jan 18; 105(2):576-88.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Dayawansa S, Peckins S, Ruch S, Norgren R. Parabrachial and hypothalamic interaction in sodium appetite. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 May; 300(5):R1091-9.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Horn CC, De Jonghe BC, Matyas K, Norgren R. Chemotherapy-induced kaolin intake is increased by lesion of the lateral parabrachial nucleus of the rat. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Nov; 297(5):R1375-82.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Hajnal A, Norgren R, Kovacs P. Parabrachial coding of sapid sucrose: relevance to reward and obesity. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Jul; 1170:347-64.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Geddes RI, Han L, Baldwin AE, Norgren R, Grigson PS. Gustatory insular cortex lesions disrupt drug-induced, but not lithium chloride-induced, suppression of conditioned stimulus intake. Behav Neurosci. 2008 Oct; 122(5):1038-50.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Mungarndee SS, Lundy RF, Norgren R. Expression of Fos during sham sucrose intake in rats with central gustatory lesions. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Sep; 295(3):R751-63.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Norgren R, Hajnal A, Mungarndee SS. Gustatory reward and the nucleus accumbens. Physiol Behav. 2006 Nov 30; 89(4):531-5.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Liang NC, Hajnal A, Norgren R. Sham feeding corn oil increases accumbens dopamine in the rat. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006 Nov; 291(5):R1236-9.
    View in: PubMed
  14. Mungarndee SS, Lundy RF, Norgren R. Central gustatory lesions and learned taste aversions: unconditioned stimuli. Physiol Behav. 2006 Mar 30; 87(3):542-51.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Lazovic J, Wrzos HF, Yang QX, Collins CM, Smith MB, Norgren R, Matyas K, Ouyang A. Regional activation in the rat brain during visceral stimulation detected by c-fos expression and fMRI. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2005 Aug; 17(4):548-56.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Hajnal A, Norgren R. Taste pathways that mediate accumbens dopamine release by sapid sucrose. Physiol Behav. 2005 Mar 16; 84(3):363-9.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Smith ME, Norgren R, Grigson PS. A mixed design reveals that glucose moieties facilitate extinction of a conditioned taste aversion in rats. Learn Behav. 2004 Nov; 32(4):454-62.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Hajnal A, Norgren R. Sucrose sham feeding decreases accumbens norepinephrine in the rat. Physiol Behav. 2004 Aug; 82(1):43-7.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Cho YK, Smith ME, Norgren R. Low-dose furosemide modulates taste responses in the nucleus of the solitary tract of the rat. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Oct; 287(4):R706-14.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Lundy RF, Caloiero V, Bradley C, Liang NC, Norgren R. Furosemide-induced food avoidance: evidence for a conditioned response. Physiol Behav. 2004 May; 81(3):397-408.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Lundy RF, Norgren R. Activity in the hypothalamus, amygdala, and cortex generates bilateral and convergent modulation of pontine gustatory neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2004 Mar; 91(3):1143-57.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Hajnal A, Smith GP, Norgren R. Oral sucrose stimulation increases accumbens dopamine in the rat. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Jan; 286(1):R31-7.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Lundy RF, Blair M, Horvath N, Norgren R. Furosemide, sodium appetite, and ingestive behavior. Physiol Behav. 2003 Mar; 78(3):449-58.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Bello NT, Sweigart KL, Lakoski JM, Norgren R, Hajnal A. Restricted feeding with scheduled sucrose access results in an upregulation of the rat dopamine transporter. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2003 May; 284(5):R1260-8.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Tamura R, Norgren R. Intracranial renin alters gustatory neural responses in the nucleus of the solitary tract of rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2003 Apr; 284(4):R1108-18.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Hajnal A, Norgren R. Repeated access to sucrose augments dopamine turnover in the nucleus accumbens. Neuroreport. 2002 Dec 3; 13(17):2213-6.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Sclafani A, Azzara AV, Touzani K, Grigson PS, Norgren R. Parabrachial nucleus lesions block taste and attenuate flavor preference and aversion conditioning in rats. Behav Neurosci. 2001 Aug; 115(4):920-33.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Hajnal A, Norgren R. Accumbens dopamine mechanisms in sucrose intake. Brain Res. 2001 Jun 15; 904(1):76-84.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Lundy RF, Norgren R. Pontine gustatory activity is altered by electrical stimulation in the central nucleus of the amygdala. J Neurophysiol. 2001 Feb; 85(2):770-83.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Lee BJ, Cho GJ, Norgren RB, Junier MP, Hill DF, Tapia V, Costa ME, Ojeda SR. TTF-1, a homeodomain gene required for diencephalic morphogenesis, is postnatally expressed in the neuroendocrine brain in a developmentally regulated and cell-specific fashion. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2001 Jan; 17(1):107-26.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Pritchard TC, Hamilton RB, Norgren R. Projections of the parabrachial nucleus in the old world monkey. Exp Neurol. 2000 Sep; 165(1):101-17.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Fromentin G, Feurté S, Nicolaidis S, Norgren R. Parabrachial lesions disrupt responses of rats to amino acid devoid diets, to protein-free diets, but not to high-protein diets. Physiol Behav. 2000 Aug-Sep; 70(3-4):381-9.
    View in: PubMed
  33. Hajnal A, Takenouchi K, Norgren R. Effect of intraduodenal lipid on parabrachial gustatory coding in awake rats. J Neurosci. 1999 Aug 15; 19(16):7182-90.
    View in: PubMed
  34. Grigson PS, Reilly S, Scalera G, Norgren R. The parabrachial nucleus is essential for acquisition of a conditioned odor aversion in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1998 Oct; 112(5):1104-13.
    View in: PubMed
  35. Norgren RB, Lehman MN. Herpes simplex virus as a transneuronal tracer. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1998 Oct; 22(6):695-708.
    View in: PubMed
  36. Thomas MP, Webster WW, Norgren RB, Monaghan DT, Morrisett RA. Survival and functional demonstration of interregional pathways in fore/midbrain slice explant cultures. Neuroscience. 1998 Jul; 85(2):615-26.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Foster LA, Boeshore K, Norgren R. Intestinal fat suppressed intake of fat longer than intestinal sucrose. Physiol Behav. 1998 Jun 15; 64(4):451-5.
    View in: PubMed
  38. Grigson PS, Reilly S, Shimura T, Norgren R. Ibotenic acid lesions of the parabrachial nucleus and conditioned taste aversion: further evidence for an associative deficit in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1998 Feb; 112(1):160-71.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Sanberg PR, Borlongan CV, Koutouzis TK, Norgren RB, Cahill DW, Freeman TB. Human fetal striatal transplantation in an excitotoxic lesioned model of Huntington's disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1997 Dec 31; 831:452-60.
    View in: PubMed
  40. Fay RA, Norgren R. Identification of rat brainstem multisynaptic connections to the oral motor nuclei using pseudorabies virus. I. Masticatory muscle motor systems. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1997 Dec; 25(3):255-75.
    View in: PubMed
  41. Fay RA, Norgren R. Identification of rat brainstem multisynaptic connections to the oral motor nuclei in the rat using pseudorabies virus. II. Facial muscle motor systems. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1997 Dec; 25(3):276-90.
    View in: PubMed
  42. Fay RA, Norgren R. Identification of rat brainstem multisynaptic connections to the oral motor nuclei using pseudorabies virus. III. Lingual muscle motor systems. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1997 Dec; 25(3):291-311.
    View in: PubMed
  43. Nishijo H, Norgren R. Parabrachial neural coding of taste stimuli in awake rats. J Neurophysiol. 1997 Nov; 78(5):2254-68.
    View in: PubMed
  44. Tamura R, Norgren R. Repeated sodium depletion affects gustatory neural responses in the nucleus of the solitary tract of rats. Am J Physiol. 1997 Oct; 273(4 Pt 2):R1381-91.
    View in: PubMed
  45. Grigson PS, Kaplan JM, Roitman MF, Norgren R, Grill HJ. Reward comparison in chronic decerebrate rats. Am J Physiol. 1997 Aug; 273(2 Pt 2):R479-86.
    View in: PubMed
  46. Scalera G, Grigson PS, Norgren R. Gustatory functions, sodium appetite, and conditioned taste aversion survive excitotoxic lesions of the thalamic taste area. Behav Neurosci. 1997 Jun; 111(3):633-45.
    View in: PubMed
  47. Grigson PS, Shimura T, Norgren R. Brainstem lesions and gustatory function: III. The role of the nucleus of the solitary tract and the parabrachial nucleus in retention of a conditioned taste aversion in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1997 Feb; 111(1):180-7.
    View in: PubMed
  48. Grigson PS, Shimura T, Norgren R. Brainstem lesions and gustatory function: II. The role of the nucleus of the solitary tract in Na+ appetite, conditioned taste aversion, and conditioned odor aversion in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1997 Feb; 111(1):169-79.
    View in: PubMed
  49. Shimura T, Norgren R, Grigson PS, Norgren R. Brainstem lesions and gustatory function: I. The role of the nucleus of the solitary tract during a brief intake test in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1997 Feb; 111(1):155-68.
    View in: PubMed
  50. Foster LA, Nakamura K, Greenberg D, Norgren R. Intestinal fat differentially suppresses sham feeding of different gustatory stimuli. Am J Physiol. 1996 May; 270(5 Pt 2):R1122-5.
    View in: PubMed
  51. Spector AC, Scalera G, Grill HJ, Norgren R. Gustatory detection thresholds after parabrachial nuclei lesions in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1995 Oct; 109(5):939-54.
    View in: PubMed
  52. Scalera G, Spector AC, Norgren R. Excitotoxic lesions of the parabrachial nuclei prevent conditioned taste aversions and sodium appetite in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1995 Oct; 109(5):997-1008.
    View in: PubMed
  53. Nakamura K, Norgren R. Sodium-deficient diet reduces gustatory activity in the nucleus of the solitary tract of behaving rats. Am J Physiol. 1995 Sep; 269(3 Pt 2):R647-661.
    View in: PubMed
  54. Travers SP, Norgren R. Organization of orosensory responses in the nucleus of the solitary tract of rat. J Neurophysiol. 1995 Jun; 73(6):2144-62.
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  55. Grill HJ, Friedman MI, Norgren R, Scalera G, Seeley R. Parabrachial nucleus lesions impair feeding response elicited by 2,5-anhydro-D-mannitol. Am J Physiol. 1995 Mar; 268(3 Pt 2):R676-82.
    View in: PubMed
  56. Hao R, Norgren RB, Lau YS, Pfeiffer RF. Cerebrospinal fluid of Parkinson's disease patients inhibits the growth and function of dopaminergic neurons in culture. Neurology. 1995 Jan; 45(1):138-42.
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  57. Norgren R, Smith GP. A method for selective section of vagal afferent or efferent axons in the rat. Am J Physiol. 1994 Oct; 267(4 Pt 2):R1136-41.
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  58. Grigson PS, Spector AC, Norgren R. Lesions of the pontine parabrachial nuclei eliminate successive negative contrast effects in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1994 Aug; 108(4):714-23.
    View in: PubMed
  59. Reilly S, Norgren R, Pritchard TC. A new gustometer for testing taste discrimination in the monkey. Physiol Behav. 1994 Mar; 55(3):401-6.
    View in: PubMed
  60. Pritchard TC, Reilly S, Hamilton RB, Norgren R. Taste preference of Old World monkeys: I. A single-bottle preference test. Physiol Behav. 1994 Mar; 55(3):477-81.
    View in: PubMed
  61. Jansen HT, Gong Q, Norgren RB, Lehman MN. Single- and double-label immunocytochemical study of the ovine suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN): GABAergic and peptidergic relationships. Brain Res Bull. 1994; 34(5):499-506.
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  62. Reilly S, Grigson PS, Norgren R. Parabrachial nucleus lesions and conditioned taste aversion: evidence supporting an associative deficit. Behav Neurosci. 1993 Dec; 107(6):1005-17.
    View in: PubMed
  63. Grigson PS, Spector AC, Norgren R. Microstructural analysis of successive negative contrast in free-feeding and deprived rats. Physiol Behav. 1993 Nov; 54(5):909-16.
    View in: PubMed
  64. Nakamura K, Norgren R. Taste responses of neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract of awake rats: an extended stimulus array. J Neurophysiol. 1993 Sep; 70(3):879-91.
    View in: PubMed
  65. Spector AC, Travers SP, Norgren R. Taste receptors on the anterior tongue and nasoincisor ducts of rats contribute synergistically to behavioral responses to sucrose. Behav Neurosci. 1993 Aug; 107(4):694-702.
    View in: PubMed
  66. Norman AB, Lu SY, Klug JM, Norgren RB. Sensitization of c-fos expression in rat striatum following multiple challenges with D-amphetamine. Brain Res. 1993 Feb 12; 603(1):125-8.
    View in: PubMed
  67. Spector AC, Grill HJ, Norgren R. Concentration-dependent licking of sucrose and sodium chloride in rats with parabrachial gustatory lesions. Physiol Behav. 1993 Feb; 53(2):277-83.
    View in: PubMed
  68. Norman AB, Thomas SR, Pratt RG, Lu SY, Norgren RB. Magnetic resonance imaging of neural transplants in rat brain using a superparamagnetic contrast agent. Brain Res. 1992 Oct 30; 594(2):279-83.
    View in: PubMed
  69. Norgren RB, McLean JH, Bubel HC, Wander A, Bernstein DI, Lehman MN. Anterograde transport of HSV-1 and HSV-2 in the visual system. Brain Res Bull. 1992 Mar; 28(3):393-9.
    View in: PubMed
  70. Spector AC, Norgren R, Grill HJ. Parabrachial gustatory lesions impair taste aversion learning in rats. Behav Neurosci. 1992 Feb; 106(1):147-61.
    View in: PubMed
  71. Flynn FW, Grill HJ, Schulkin J, Norgren R. Central gustatory lesions: II. Effects on sodium appetite, taste aversion learning, and feeding behaviors. Behav Neurosci. 1991 Dec; 105(6):944-54.
    View in: PubMed
  72. Flynn FW, Grill HJ, Schwartz GJ, Norgren R. Central gustatory lesions: I. Preference and taste reactivity tests. Behav Neurosci. 1991 Dec; 105(6):933-43.
    View in: PubMed
  73. Nakamura K, Norgren R. Gustatory responses of neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract of behaving rats. J Neurophysiol. 1991 Oct; 66(4):1232-48.
    View in: PubMed
  74. Prakash MR, Norgren R. Comparing salt appetites: induction with intracranial hormones or dietary sodium restriction. Brain Res Bull. 1991 Sep-Oct; 27(3-4):397-401.
    View in: PubMed
  75. Nishijo H, Norgren R. Parabrachial gustatory neural activity during licking by rats. J Neurophysiol. 1991 Sep; 66(3):974-85.
    View in: PubMed
  76. Travers SP, Norgren R. Coding the sweet taste in the nucleus of the solitary tract: differential roles for anterior tongue and nasoincisor duct gustatory receptors in the rat. J Neurophysiol. 1991 Jun; 65(6):1372-80.
    View in: PubMed
  77. Nishijo H, Ono T, Norgren R. Parabrachial gustatory neural responses to monosodium glutamate ingested by awake rats. Physiol Behav. 1991 May; 49(5):965-71.
    View in: PubMed
  78. Pritchard TC, Norgren R. Preference of Old World monkeys for amino acids and other gustatory stimuli: the influence of monosodium glutamate. Physiol Behav. 1991 May; 49(5):1003-7.
    View in: PubMed
  79. Stegmann S, Norgren RB, Lehman MN. Citric acid-ammonium acetate buffer. Biotech Histochem. 1991; 1(1):27-8.
    View in: PubMed
  80. Norgren RB, Lehman MN. A new chromogen for use in HRP-tract tracing and double-label immunocytochemistry. Brain Res Bull. 1990 Sep; 25(3):393-6.
    View in: PubMed
  81. Nishijo H, Norgren R. Responses from parabrachial gustatory neurons in behaving rats. J Neurophysiol. 1990 Apr; 63(4):707-24.
    View in: PubMed
  82. Norgren RB, Silver R. Distribution of vasoactive intestinal peptide-like and neurophysin-like immunoreactive neurons and acetylcholinesterase staining in the ring dove hypothalamus with emphasis on the question of an avian suprachiasmatic nucleus. Cell Tissue Res. 1990 Feb; 259(2):331-9.
    View in: PubMed
  83. Norgren RB, Lehman MN. Retrograde transneuronal transport of herpes simplex virus in the retina after injection in the superior colliculus, hypothalamus and optic chiasm. Brain Res. 1989 Feb 13; 479(2):374-8.
    View in: PubMed
  84. Pritchard TC, Hamilton RB, Norgren R. Neural coding of gustatory information in the thalamus of Macaca mulatta. J Neurophysiol. 1989 Jan; 61(1):1-14.
    View in: PubMed
  85. Norgren R, Nishijo H, Travers SP. Taste responses from the entire gustatory apparatus. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1989; 575:246-63; discussion 263-4.
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  86. Norgren R, Smith GP. Central distribution of subdiaphragmatic vagal branches in the rat. J Comp Neurol. 1988 Jul 8; 273(2):207-23.
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  87. Travers JB, Grill HJ, Norgren R. The effects of glossopharyngeal and chorda tympani nerve cuts on the ingestion and rejection of sapid stimuli: an electromyographic analysis in the rat. Behav Brain Res. 1987 Sep; 25(3):233-46.
    View in: PubMed
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