- Assistant Professor
- Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences
We study the signaling and regulation of an important brain expressed receptor, the D2 dopamine receptor (D2R). In the brain, the neurotransmitter, dopamine, plays a major role in reward, motivation, and addiction. Other brain dopamine systems are involved in controlling voluntary movement and the release of several important hormones.
Several important central nervous system diseases are associated with dysfunction of brain dopamine systems. The rigidity observed in Parkinson’s disease is caused by the degenerative loss of dopamine-secreting neurons in the midbrain. Furthermore, the D2 dopamine receptor is a target of all presently available antipsychotic drugs, which are used to treat schizophrenia.
We have previously shown that a brain-specific regulator of D2R, called RGS9, plays a role in the development of tardive dyskinesia, a debilitating, hyperkinetic, motor side-effect of chronic treatment with antipsychotic drugs. We have also shown that the same regulator, RGS9, is involved in controlling adiposity and body weight in both rodents and humans.
Recently, we showed that D2R is compartmentalized in the plasma membrane of living cells and presently we are studying how different antipsychotic drugs alter such compartmentalziation D2R.
Personal website: http://ww2.uri.edu/who/abraham-kovoor