Jana Velíšková, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Cell Biology & Anatomy and Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy
Basic Sciences Building, Room A21
Valhalla, NY 10595
My laboratory is interested in mechanisms by which sex hormones influence neuronal excitability during physiological and pathological conditions such as synaptic plasticity, seizures, and neuroprotective effects on seizure-induced damage. Our studies show that beta-estradiol may not always increase seizure susceptibility and neuronal excitability. We found that administration of low dose of beta-estradiol, restores neuropeptide Y (NPY) levels within the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, which are decreased following ovariectomy. NPY is an inhibitory peptide and its loss after ovariectomy leads to increase in neuronal excitability. Besides the NPY system, beta-estradiol is also involved in regulation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and in a crosstalk between mGluRs and NMDA receptors, which plays a role in formation of synaptic plasticity. Examination of the role of estrogens in seizures and mechanisms by which beta-estradiol exerts its effects may have a significant impact on the treatment of women with epilepsy. Estrogen-neuropeptide/transmitter interactions within the hippocampus are also important for understanding depression/anxiety, memory processing, and cognition.
We employ a wide variety of techniques including different seizure models, deep brain structure electrode/cannula placements, intracranial drug administration, EEG/video monitoring, 2-deoxyglucose mapping, immunohistochemistry, FluoroJade staining for degenerating neurons, western and slice blotting, in addition to extracellular and whole cell patch recordings. By combining in vivo and in vitro studies we examine the functional properties of the nervous system, which is not operating as a unit but as part of the entire system by finely tuned feedback communication with the peripheral organs. Our studies involve collaborations with colleagues from our institution as well as from other institutions in the US and Europe.
Graduate Degree: M.D., Ph.D.
Graduate Degree Institution: Faculty of General Medicine of the Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1987 (M.D.), First Faculty of General Medicine of the Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1999 (Ph.D.)