Cynthia Moreton Kuhn
Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
This laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach using both animal and model systems to study the biology of addiction and stress/depression. We are specifically interested in how adolescence and the hormonal changes of puberty and aging influence vulnerability to these conditions. Specific projects underway include: (1) the biology of sex differences in addictive drug action, (2) role of maturing dopamine systems in the onset of drug taking during adolescence, (3) the neurobiology of adolescent insensitivity to threat and its role in drug use.
Studies of sex differences focus on understanding estrogen and testosterone actions in the brain that are relevant to addiction, depression and stress-related behaviors. We are particularly interested in molecular targets of estrogen action including key proteins that regulate dopamine neurons and the stress peptide CRF. Current projects include the role of glucocorticoid and reproductive hormones in alcohol and opioid dependence in adolescence. Adolescent studies are exploring the impact of maturing dopamine systems as well as cortical inhibition of these systems on novelty-seeking/risk taking as predictors of substance abuse vulnerability as well as responses to addictive drugs.
In addition to these animal studies, we collaborate actively with clinicians in psychiatry who are studying addiction and stress-related illness in humans, and participate in development of drug-abuse education and general neuroscience education materials for students, parents and other members of the lay public.
Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2025
Duke University Program in Environmental Health awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2013 to 2024
Duke CTSA (TL1) awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2018 to 2023
Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2002 to 2022
Medical Scientist Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1997 to 2022
Pharmacological Sciences Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 1975 to 2020
Organization and Function of Cellular Structure awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1975 to 2020
Simultaneous and Bidirectional Chemogenetic Control of Mesolimbic and Nigrostriatal Circuits awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2018 to 2020
Pharmacology Industry Internships for Ph.D. Students awarded by American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019
Duke University Program in Environmental Health awarded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Mentor). 2013 to 2019
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Jiang, Rong, et al. “Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism interacts with gender to influence cortisol responses to mental stress.” Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 79, May 2017, pp. 13–19. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.02.005. Full Text
Sun, Julia L., et al. “Mental stress-induced left ventricular dysfunction and adverse outcome in ischemic heart disease patients.” Eur J Prev Cardiol, vol. 24, no. 6, Apr. 2017, pp. 591–99. Pubmed, doi:10.1177/2047487316686435. Full Text
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Kuhn, Cynthia. “Emergence of sex differences in the development of substance use and abuse during adolescence.” Pharmacol Ther, vol. 153, Sept. 2015, pp. 55–78. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2015.06.003. Full Text
Reavis, Zackery W., et al. “EIGHT-MONTH STABILITY OF PLASMA EPINEPHRINE AND CORTISOL IN FASTED ADULTS AT BASELINE AND IN RESPONSE TO A GLUCOSE BOLUS.” Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 81, no. 4, LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2019, pp. A41–42.
Georgiades, Anastasia, et al. “EPINEPHRINE, CORTISOL AND NON-ESTERIFIED FATTY ACID LEVELS DURING AN INTRAVENOUS GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ACUTE INSULIN RESPONSE (AIR), AN EARLY RISK MARKER FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES.” Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 81, no. 4, LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2019, pp. A42–A42.
Kuhn, Cynthia, et al. “Rapastinel, a Nonopioid Pharmacotherapy for Opioid Dependence?” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 43, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018, pp. S221–22.
Georgiades, Anastasia, et al. “REDUCED ADRENAL MEDULLARY ACTIVITY MAY BE IMPORTANT FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF NORMAL GLUCOSE REGULATION IN THE OBESE STATE.” Psychosomatic Medicine, vol. 80, no. 3, LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2018, pp. A65–A65.
Kuhn, Cynthia, et al. “Conditioned Food Avoidance in Adolescence: A Contributor to Eating Disorders?” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 42, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2017, pp. S151–S151.
Sun, Julia, et al. “MENTAL STRESS-INDUCED PLATELET AGGREGATION PREDICTS ADVERSE CARDIOVASCULAR OUTCOME IN ISCHEMIC HEART DISEASE PATIENTS ON DUAL ANTIPLATELET THERAPY.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, vol. 67, no. 13, Elsevier BV, 2016, pp. 2159–2159. Crossref, doi:10.1016/s0735-1097(16)32160-x. Full Text