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Kirsteen Browning

TitleAssistant Professor
InstitutionCollege of Medicine
DepartmentNeural and Behavioral Sciences
Address500 University Drive Hershey PA 17033
Mailbox: H109
Phone7175318267

 Overview 
 overview
PREFERRED TITLE/ROLE:

Assistant Professor of Neural and Behavioral Science

My laboratory has worked in conjunction with that of Dr Travagli for several years, exploring our common interest in the organization of autonomic homeostatic circuits. Our preliminary studies led us to propose that brainstem autonomic circuits are pathway specific. That is, a neuron’s properties (biophysical, neurochemical, pharmacological) in combination with its synaptic connections to and from other central nuclei define it as belonging to a distinct autonomic pathway. Under this proposal, autonomic circuits are segregated into distinct functional lines and subgroups of neurons are responsible for the integration of homeostatic functions. Our future studies will investigate these circuits with the aim of identifying the molecular and cellular determinants that malfunction or maladapt in pathological states such as obesity or diabetes and the role these factors play in the plasticity and adaptations necessary to respond to the changing environment.

More recently, the work of our laboratories has led us to propose that autonomic brainstem circuits are not the stereotyped relay networks they have been assumed to be but, instead, are capable of rapid adaptation in response to changing conditions. Those factors that malfunction in diabetes, for example, involve a different set of neurons and circuits with respect to the factors that are altered in cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension or respiratory disorders such as chronic cough or airway hyperreactivity. These adaptations are highly specific in terms of the neuronal populations they target and imply that the visceral parasympathetic output can be tailored to homeostatic requirements in an on-demand fashion. These adaptations may also be triggered inappropriately, however, suggesting that peripheral injury (inflammation, mechanical or chemical insult) or disease (diabetes or obesity) may induce longer-term or unwelcome alterations in autonomic brainstem circuits.

Plasticity within the parasympathetic autonomic system does not appear to be restricted to circuits within the brainstem, though. My own laboratory has begun to focus on the sensory vagus and the role that plasticity plays with respect to alterations in peripheral sensation and signaling. This has led to the hypothesis that the vagal sensory neurons and nerve terminals are open to constant modulation by humoral, paracrine and feeding-related hormones. I have focused my efforts in particular to the study of hyperglycemia, as a pre-diabetic state. Glucose, for instance modulates the number and function of neurotransmitter/modulator receptors (5-HT3 and GLP-1 receptors, for example) on vagal afferent neurons and nerve terminals, hence regulates the magnitude or duration of the sensory response. Short-term exposure to a diet high in fat, however, attenuates this ability of glucose to modulate the responsiveness of vagal afferents to glucose, however, long before development of obesity or loss of glycemic control suggesting that loss of glucoregulation precedes, and may even contribute to, these conditions.

To investigate these hypotheses, our laboratories use the following techniques
? Patch clamp electrophysiology (from brain slices and dissociated primary culture)
? Immunohistochemistry
? Morphological analyses
? Single-cell RT-PCR
? In vivo studies of visceral (mainly subdiaphragmatic) functions including gastric motility and emptying




 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. Stocker SD, Monahan KD, Browning KN. Neurogenic and Sympathoexcitatory Actions of NaCl in Hypertension. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 Dec; 15(6):538-46.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Browning KN. Modulation of gastrointestinal vagal neurocircuits by hyperglycemia. Front Neurosci. 2013; 7:217.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Babic T, Browning KN. The role of vagal neurocircuits in the regulation of nausea and vomiting. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014 Jan 5; 722:38-47.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Holmes GM, Browning KN, Babic T, Fortna SR, Coleman FH, Travagli RA. Vagal afferent fibres determine the oxytocin-induced modulation of gastric tone. J Physiol. 2013 Jun 15; 591(Pt 12):3081-100.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Browning KN, Fortna SR, Hajnal A. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass reverses the effects of diet-induced obesity to inhibit the responsiveness of central vagal motoneurones. J Physiol. 2013 May 1; 591(Pt 9):2357-72.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Browning KN, Babic T, Holmes GM, Swartz E, Travagli RA. A critical re-evaluation of the specificity of action of perivagal capsaicin. J Physiol. 2013 Mar 15; 591(Pt 6):1563-80.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Babic T, Bhagat R, Wan S, Browning KN, Snyder M, Fortna SR, Travagli RA. Role of the vagus in the reduced pancreatic exocrine function in copper-deficient rats. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2013 Feb 15; 304(4):G437-48.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Babic T, Troy AE, Fortna SR, Browning KN. Glucose-dependent trafficking of 5-HT3 receptors in rat gastrointestinal vagal afferent neurons. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Oct; 24(10):e476-88.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Babic T, Browning KN, Kawaguchi Y, Tang X, Travagli RA. Pancreatic insulin and exocrine secretion are under the modulatory control of distinct subpopulations of vagal motoneurones in the rat. J Physiol. 2012 Aug 1; 590(Pt 15):3611-22.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Llewellyn-Smith IJ, Kellett DO, Jordan D, Browning KN, Travagli RA. Oxytocin-immunoreactive innervation of identified neurons in the rat dorsal vagal complex. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Mar; 24(3):e136-46.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Browning KN, Wan S, Baptista V, Travagli RA. Vanilloid, purinergic, and CCK receptors activate glutamate release on single neurons of the nucleus tractus solitarius centralis. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Aug; 301(2):R394-401.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Plasticity of vagal brainstem circuits in the control of gastrointestinal function. Auton Neurosci. 2011 Apr 26; 161(1-2):6-13.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Tong M, Qualls-Creekmore E, Browning KN, Travagli RA, Holmes GM. Experimental spinal cord injury in rats diminishes vagally-mediated gastric responses to cholecystokinin-8s. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011 Feb; 23(2):e69-79.
    View in: PubMed
  14. Babic T, Browning KN, Travagli RA. Differential organization of excitatory and inhibitory synapses within the rat dorsal vagal complex. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2011 Jan; 300(1):G21-32.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Plasticity of vagal brainstem circuits in the control of gastric function. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2010 Nov; 22(11):1154-63.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Browning KN. Protease-activated receptors: novel central role in modulation of gastric functions. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2010 Apr; 22(4):361-5.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Browning KN. Glucose and the vagus: sensory cells savour sweet substances. J Physiol. 2010 Mar 1; 588(Pt 5):749-50.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Holmes GM, Browning KN, Tong M, Qualls-Creekmore E, Travagli RA. Vagally mediated effects of glucagon-like peptide 1: in vitro and in vivo gastric actions. J Physiol. 2009 Oct 1; 587(Pt 19):4749-59.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Modulation of inhibitory neurotransmission in brainstem vagal circuits by NPY and PYY is controlled by cAMP levels. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Dec; 21(12):1309-e126.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Wan S, Browning KN. Glucose increases synaptic transmission from vagal afferent central nerve terminals via modulation of 5-HT3 receptors. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Nov; 295(5):G1050-7.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Wan S, Browning KN, Coleman FH, Sutton G, Zheng H, Butler A, Berthoud HR, Travagli RA. Presynaptic melanocortin-4 receptors on vagal afferent fibers modulate the excitability of rat nucleus tractus solitarius neurons. J Neurosci. 2008 May 7; 28(19):4957-66.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Wan S, Browning KN. D-glucose modulates synaptic transmission from the central terminals of vagal afferent fibers. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Mar; 294(3):G757-63.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Functional organization of presynaptic metabotropic glutamate receptors in vagal brainstem circuits. J Neurosci. 2007 Aug 22; 27(34):8979-88.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Wan S, Browning KN, Travagli RA. Glucagon-like peptide-1 modulates synaptic transmission to identified pancreas-projecting vagal motoneurons. Peptides. 2007 Nov; 28(11):2184-91.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Baptista V, Browning KN, Travagli RA. Effects of cholecystokinin-8s in the nucleus tractus solitarius of vagally deafferented rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Mar; 292(3):R1092-100.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Browning KN, Zheng Z, Gettys TW, Travagli RA. Vagal afferent control of opioidergic effects in rat brainstem circuits. J Physiol. 2006 Sep 15; 575(Pt 3):761-76.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Short-term receptor trafficking in the dorsal vagal complex: an overview. Auton Neurosci. 2006 Jun 30; 126-127:2-8.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Travagli RA, Hermann GE, Browning KN, Rogers RC. Brainstem circuits regulating gastric function. Annu Rev Physiol. 2006; 68:279-305.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Browning KN, Coleman FH, Travagli RA. Effects of pancreatic polypeptide on pancreas-projecting rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus neurons. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2005 Aug; 289(2):G209-19.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Browning KN, Coleman FH, Travagli RA. Characterization of pancreas-projecting rat dorsal motor nucleus of vagus neurons. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2005 May; 288(5):G950-5.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Zheng H, Patterson LM, Morrison C, Banfield BW, Randall JA, Browning KN, Travagli RA, Berthoud HR. Melanin concentrating hormone innervation of caudal brainstem areas involved in gastrointestinal functions and energy balance. Neuroscience. 2005; 135(2):611-25.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Browning KN, Kalyuzhny AE, Travagli RA. Mu-opioid receptor trafficking on inhibitory synapses in the rat brainstem. J Neurosci. 2004 Aug 18; 24(33):7344-52.
    View in: PubMed
  33. Valenzuela IM, Browning KN, Travagli RA. Morphological differences between planes of section do not influence the electrophysiological properties of identified rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus neurons. Brain Res. 2004 Apr 2; 1003(1-2):54-60.
    View in: PubMed
  34. Browning KN. Excitability of nodose ganglion cells and their role in vago-vagal reflex control of gastrointestinal function. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2003 Dec; 3(6):613-7.
    View in: PubMed
  35. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Neuropeptide Y and peptide YY inhibit excitatory synaptic transmission in the rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. J Physiol. 2003 Jun 15; 549(Pt 3):775-85.
    View in: PubMed
  36. Travagli RA, Hermann GE, Browning KN, Rogers RC. Musings on the wanderer: what's new in our understanding of vago-vagal reflexes? III. Activity-dependent plasticity in vago-vagal reflexes controlling the stomach. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003 Feb; 284(2):G180-7.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Browning KN, Mendelowitz D. Musings on the wanderer: what's new in our understanding of vago-vagal reflexes?: II. Integration of afferent signaling from the viscera by the nodose ganglia. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003 Jan; 284(1):G8-14.
    View in: PubMed
  38. Browning KN, Kalyuzhny AE, Travagli RA. Opioid peptides inhibit excitatory but not inhibitory synaptic transmission in the rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. J Neurosci. 2002 Apr 15; 22(8):2998-3004.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Ferreira M, Browning KN, Sahibzada N, Verbalis JG, Gillis RA, Travagli RA. Glucose effects on gastric motility and tone evoked from the rat dorsal vagal complex. J Physiol. 2001 Oct 1; 536(Pt 1):141-52.
    View in: PubMed
  40. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Mechanism of action of baclofen in rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2001 Jun; 280(6):G1106-13.
    View in: PubMed
  41. Browning KN, Travagli RA. The peptide TRH uncovers the presence of presynaptic 5-HT1A receptors via activation of a second messenger pathway in the rat dorsal vagal complex. J Physiol. 2001 Mar 1; 531(Pt 2):425-35.
    View in: PubMed
  42. Guo JJ, Browning KN, Rogers RC, Travagli RA. Catecholaminergic neurons in rat dorsal motor nucleus of vagus project selectively to gastric corpus. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2001 Mar; 280(3):G361-7.
    View in: PubMed
  43. Browning KN, Lees GM. Inhibitory effects of NPY on ganglionic transmission in myenteric neurones of the guinea-pig descending colon. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2000 Feb; 12(1):33-41.
    View in: PubMed
  44. Browning KN, Travagli RA. Characterization of the in vitro effects of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) on identified neurones of the rat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV). Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Nov; 128(6):1307-15.
    View in: PubMed
  45. Browning KN, Cunningham SM, Duncan L, Timmermans J, Lees GM. Regional differences in the sympathetic innervation of the guinea pig large intestine by neuropeptide Y- and tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive nerves of divergent extrinsic origin. J Comp Neurol. 1999 Aug 9; 410(4):515-30.
    View in: PubMed
  46. Browning KN, Renehan WE, Travagli RA. Electrophysiological and morphological heterogeneity of rat dorsal vagal neurones which project to specific areas of the gastrointestinal tract. J Physiol. 1999 Jun 1; 517 ( Pt 2):521-32.
    View in: PubMed
  47. Browning KN, Zheng Z, Kreulen DL, Travagli RA. Two populations of sympathetic neurons project selectively to mesenteric artery or vein. Am J Physiol. 1999 Apr; 276(4 Pt 2):H1263-72.
    View in: PubMed
  48. Browning KN, Zheng ZL, Kreulen DL, Travagli RA. Effects of nitric oxide in cultured prevertebral sympathetic ganglion neurons. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1998 Aug; 286(2):1086-93.
    View in: PubMed
  49. Hirai K, Browning KN, Lees GM. Neuropeptide Y hyperpolarizes submucosal neurons of the guinea-pig descending colon. Neurosci Lett. 1997 May 23; 227(3):212-4.
    View in: PubMed
  50. Browning KN, Lees GM. Myenteric neurons of the rat descending colon: electrophysiological and correlated morphological properties. Neuroscience. 1996 Aug; 73(4):1029-47.
    View in: PubMed
  51. Browning KN, Lees GM. Reappraisal of the innervation of rat intestine by vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive neurons. Neuroscience. 1994 Oct; 62(4):1257-66.
    View in: PubMed
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