Cynthia Moreton Kuhn

Cynthia Moreton Kuhn

Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology

External Address: 
308 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710
Internal Office Address: 
Duke Box 3813, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 
919.684.8828

Overview

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.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University 1976

Selected Grants

Duke University Program in Environmental Health awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2013 to 2024

Duke CTSA (KL2) awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2018 to 2023

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

Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2002 to 2022

Organization and Function of Cellular Structure awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1975 to 2020

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

Pages

Simon, S. A., and A. L. N. Miguel. Series Preface. 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1201/9781420007350. Full Text

Fleming, Weston, et al. “Withdrawal from Brief Repeated Alcohol Treatment in Adolescent and Adult Male and Female Rats..” Alcohol Clin Exp Res, vol. 43, no. 2, Feb. 2019, pp. 204–11. Pubmed, doi:10.1111/acer.13936. Full Text

Boyle, Stephen H., et al. “The Effects of Tryptophan Enhancement and Depletion on Plasma Catecholamine Levels in Healthy Individuals..” Psychosom Med, vol. 81, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 34–40. Pubmed, doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000000637. Full Text

Bolton, Jessica L., et al. “Perinatal western-type diet and associated gestational weight gain alter postpartum maternal mood..” Brain Behav, vol. 7, no. 10, Oct. 2017. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/brb3.828. Full Text

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

Feigal, Jacob P., et al. “Associations between positive emotional well-being and stress-induced myocardial ischemia: Well-being scores predict exercise-induced ischemia..” J Psychosom Res, vol. 93, Feb. 2017, pp. 14–18. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2016.11.012. Full Text

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

Sanchez, C. L., et al. “The Role of Serotonin (5-HT) in Behavioral Control: Findings from Animal Research and Clinical Implications..” Int J Neuropsychopharmacol, vol. 18, no. 10, May 2015. Pubmed, doi:10.1093/ijnp/pyv050. Full Text

Jiang, Wei, et al. “Platelet aggregation and mental stress induced myocardial ischemia: Results from the Responses of Myocardial Ischemia to Escitalopram Treatment (REMIT) study..” Am Heart J, vol. 169, no. 4, Apr. 2015, pp. 496-507.e1. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2014.12.002. Full Text Open Access Copy

Boyle, Stephen H., et al. “Associations between central nervous system serotonin, fasting glucose, and hostility in African American females..” Ann Behav Med, vol. 49, no. 1, Feb. 2015, pp. 49–57. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s12160-014-9626-7. Full Text

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