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Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University Graduate School » Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University

Mei-Chuan Ko

Mei-Chuan Ko
The Ko laboratory investigates the pharmacological profiles of both clinically used drugs and newly developed ligands in rodents and nonhuman primates.  We have developed several experimental pain and itch models in nonhuman primates with translational values.  By using diverse behavioral and physiological assays, our research focuses on elucidating the receptor mechanisms for regulating sensory processing, responses to stress, and drug dependence. In addition, our studies aim to establish the therapeutic profiles of novel ligands following acute and chronic administration in subjects under different states.  We have collaborations with faculty members to study different aspects (e.g., gene expression, G protein signaling, and neuroadaptations) of drug actions.  Current projects investigate the therapeutic potentials of (1) nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide receptor-related ligands as analgesics and (2) kappa opioid receptor agonists and gastrin-releasing peptide receptor antagonists as antipruritics.  Our studies not only provide the pharmacological evidence of cause and effect for the functional consequences of receptor activation in primates, but also transform discoveries of novel ligand-receptor systems into future therapies.
  • Rizzi A, Sukhtankar DD, Ding H, Hayashida K, Ruzza C, Guerrini R, Calo’ G, Ko MC. (2015) Spinal antinociceptive effects of the novel NOP receptor agonist PWT2-nociceptin/orphanin FQ in mice and monkeys. British Journal of Pharmacology172(14):3661-3670.
  • Lee H, Ko MC. (2015) Distinct functions of opioid-related peptides and gastrin-releasing peptide in regulating itch and pain in the spinal cord of primates. Scientific Reports 5:11676.
  • Ding H, Hayashida K, Suto T, Sukhtankar DD, Kimura M, Mendenhall V, Ko MC. (2015) Supraspinal actions of nociception/orphanin FA, morphine and substance P in regulating pain and itch in non-human primates. British Journal of Pharmacology172(13):3302-3312.
  • Schröder W. Lambert DG. Ko MC. Koch T. (2014) Functional plasticity of the N/OFQ-NOP receptor system determines analgesic properties of NOP receptor agonists. British Journal of Pharmacology171(16):3777-3800.
  • Sukhtankar DD. Lee H. Rice KC. Ko MC. (2014) Differential effects of opioid-related ligands and NSAIDs in nonhuman primate models of acute and inflammatory pain. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 231(7):1377-1387.
  • Molinari S. Camarda V. Rizzi A. Marzola G. Salvadori S. Marzola E. Molinari P. McDonald J. Ko MC. Lambert DG. Calo’ G. Guerrini R. (2013) [Dmt1]N/OFQ(1-13)-NH2, a potent nociceptin/orphanin FQ and opioid receptor universal agonist. British Journal of Pharmacology 168(1):151-162.
  • Sukhtankar DD. Ko MC. (2013) Physiological function of gastrin-releasing peptide and neuromedin B receptors in regulating itch scratching behavior in the spinal cord of mice. PLoS ONE8(6):e67422.
  • Sukhtankar DD. Zaveri NT. Husbands SM. Ko MC. (2013) Effects of spinally administered bifunctional nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide receptor/m-opioid receptor ligands in mouse models of neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics346(1):11-22.
  • Lin AP. Ko MC. (2013) The therapeutic potential of nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor agonists as analgesics without abuse liability. ACS Chemical Neuroscience 4(2):214-224.
  • Ko MC. Husbands SM. (2013) Research and Development of Opioid-Related Ligands (Editors: MC Ko & SM Husbands). ACS Symposium Series, volume 1131, American Chemical Society/ACS Publications, Washington DC, USA (Distributed in print by Oxford University Press, Inc.). ISBN13: 978-0841227828.
  • Cremeans CM. Gruley E. Kyle DJ. Ko MC. (2012) Roles of m-opioid receptors and nociceptin/orphanin FQ peptide receptors in buprenorphine-induced physiological responses in monkeys. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 343(1):72-81.
  • Su PY. Ko MC. (2011) The role of central gastrin-releasing peptide and neuromedin B receptors in the modulation of scratching behavior in rats. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 337(3):822-829.
  • Collins GT. Carey KA. Narasimhan D. Nichols J. Berlin AA. Lukacs NW. Sunahara RK. Woods JH. Ko MC. (2011) Amelioration of the cardiovascular effects of cocaine in rhesus monkeys by a long-acting mutant form of cocaine esterase. Neuropsychopharmacology 36(5):1047-1059.
  • Hu E. Calo’ G. Guerrini R. Ko MC. (2010) Long lasting antinociceptive spinal effects in primates of the novel nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor agonist UFP-112. Pain 148(1):107-113.