M. Cathleen Kovarik, PhD, DVM

  • KOVARIKcathyAssociate Teaching Professor
  • DVM—Colorado State University
  • PhD—Iowa State University

573-882-2536 (office)
573-882-7424 (lab)
4 Vet Science Building
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

Teaching: BMS 5100 Neuroscience; 5011, 5012 Large Animal Gross Anatomy

11 Vet Science Building
573-882-7424

Neuroendocrinology – Reproduction in mammals is regulated by the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) from hypothalamic GnRH neurons. The pulsatile release of GnRH is necessary for the maintenance of normal reproductive function in both males and females. However, the mechanism and control of pulsatile GnRH release is unknown. Experiments in my laboratory utilize a transgenic mouse to explore the endogenous generation and exogenous regulation of pulsatile cellular activity in GnRH neurons.

Previous studies have shown that isolated GnRH neurons generate spontaneous episodic activity. In addition, GnRH neurons demonstrate spike-dependent depolarizing afterpotentials (DAPs), which can lead to bursts of activity. Currently, patch-clamp electrophysiology is being used to explore 1) the ionic basis of DAPs in GnRH neurons; 2) changes in GnRH neuronal activity with aging and with changes in hormone status, and 3) changes in excitatory amino acid receptor composition during the aging process. These studies are designed to determine if functional changes are seen in individual GnRH neurons with age and reproductive status. Changes in GnRH neurons during the aging process in women could contribute to the onset of menopause.

Wang, Y., Garro, M., Dantzler, H.A., Taylor, J.A., Kline, D.D., and Kuehl-Kovarik, M.C. (2008) Age affects spontaneous activity and depolarizing afterpotentials in isolated gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons. Endocrinology 149:4938-47.

Wang, Y., Garro M, and Kuehl-Kovarik, M.C. (2010) Estradiol Attenuates Multiple Tetrodotoxin-Sensitive Sodium Currents in Isolated Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone Neurons. Brain Research 1345:137-45.

Wang, Y., and Kuehl-Kovarik, M.C. (2010) Flufenamic acid modulates multiple currents in gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons. Brain Research 1353:94-105.

Wang, Y., and Kuehl-Kovarik, M.C. (2012) Estradiol directly attenuates sodium currents and depolarizing afterpotentials in isolated gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons. Brain Research 1436:81-91.