Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

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Pharmacology and Physiology

Faculty and Staff

Kath CurtisKathleen S. Curtis , Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physiology

kath.curtis@okstate.edu
office #339 / phone - 918-561-8487

Lab #411 & 412 / phone - 918-561-8297

Education | Academic Positions | Funding | Selected Publications | Research Interests

 

 

Education

  • 1996
    Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1993
    M.S., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1991
    B.S., Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA

Academic Positions

  • 2012-present
    Associate Professor of Physiology, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK
  • 2006-2012
    Assistant Professor of Physiology, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK
  • 2001-2006
    Associate in Research and Faculty member, Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • 1999-2001
    Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • 1996-1999
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Funding

  • 2012-2015
    Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (HR12-196)
    Estrogen, dieting, and CNS control of food intake
  • 2009-2012
    Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (HR09-123S)
    Estrogen, central pathways, and body fluid regulation
  • 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    INBRE Summer Undergraduate Research Program 
  • 2004-2009
    National Institutes of Health (R03 DC06360)
    NaCl taste responses: bases for sex difference in rat
  • 1998
    American Heart Association
    Postdoctoral Grant
  • 1997-1999
    Postdoctoral Training Grant (NIH, T32HL07094)

 

Selected Publications

Ferri, SL, CJ Rohrbach, SE Way, KS Curtis, JT Curtis, and LM Flanagan-Cato. Dendritic arbor of neurons in the hypothalamic Ventromedial Nucleus in female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Hormones and Behavior 63: 173-179, 2013.

Curtis, JT, MB Anderson, and KS Curtis. Regional differences in serotonin content in the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract of male rats after hyopvolemia produced by polyethelene glycol. Journal of Physiological Sciences 63: 39-46, 2013.

Jones, AB, EE Bass, L Fan, and KS Curtis. Estradiol selectively reduces central neural activation induced by hypertonic NaCl infusion in ovariectomized rats. Physiology and Behavior 107: 192-200, 2012.

Graves, NS, H Hayes, L Fan, and KS Curtis. Time course of behavioral, physiological, and morphological changes after estradiol treatment of ovariectomized rats. Physiology and Behavior 103: 261-267, 2011.

L Fan, CE Smith, KS Curtis. Regional differences in estradiol effects on numbers of HSD2–containing neurons in the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract of rats. Brain Research1358: 89-101, 2010.

Stricker, EM, MR Bykowski, CA Smith-Hossler, KS Curtis, and JC Smith. Gastric emptying and intestinal absorption of ingested water and saline by hypovolemic rats. Physiology and Behavior 98: 570-578, 2009.

Jones, AB and KS Curtis. Differential effects of estradiol on drinking by ovariectomized rats in response to hypertonic NaCl or isoproterenol: Implications for hyper- vs. hypo-osmotic stimuli for water intake. Physiology and Behavior. 98: 421-426, 2009.

Curtis, KS. Estrogen and the central control of body fluid balance. Physiology and Behavior clear97: 180-192, 2009.

Vaughn, JM, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Behavioral and electrophysiological taste responses change following brief or prolonged dietary sodium deprivation. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 295: R1754-R1761, 2008.

JM Stratford, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Linoleic acid increases chorda tympani nerve responses to and behavioral preferences for monosodium glutamate by male and female rats American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 295: R764-R772, 2008.

Smith, CA, KS Curtis, JC Smith, and EM Stricker. Presystemic influences on thirst, salt appetite, and vasopressin secretion in the hypovolemic rat. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 292: R2089-R2099, 2007.

Krause, EG, KS Curtis, JP Markle, and RJ Contreras. Oestrogen affects the cardiovascular and central responses to isoproterenol of female rats. Journal of Physiology 582: 435-447, 2007.

Dietz, DD, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Taste, salience, and increased sodium chloride ingestion after repeated sodium depletions. Chemical Senses 31: 33-41, 2006.

Krause, EG, KS Curtis, TL Stincic, JP Markle, and RJ Contreras. Oestrogen and weight loss decrease isoproterenol-induced fos IR and AT1 mRNA in the subfornical organ of female rats. Journal of Physiology 573: 251-262, 2006.

Curtis, KS and RJ Contreras. Sex differences in electrophysiological and behavioral responses to NaCl taste. Behavioral Neuroscience 120: 917-924, 2006.

Curtis, KS, JM Stratford, and RJ Contreras. Estrogen increases the taste threshold for sucrose in rats. Physiology and Behavior 86: 281-286, 2005.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, DL Wong, and RJ Contreras. Gestational and early postnatal dietary NaCl levels affect NaCl intake, but not stimulated water intake, by adult rats. American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 286: R1043-R1050, 2004.

Krause, EG, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Estrogen influences stimulated water intake by ovariectomized female rats. Physiology and Behavior 87: 579-583, 2003.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, and RJ Contreras. Cardiovascular function and circadian patterns in rats after area postrema lesions or prolonged food restriction. Neuroscience Letters 350: 46-50, 2003.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, RJ Contreras. Fos expression in non-catecholaminergic neurons in medullary and pontine nuclei after volume depletion induced by polyethylene glycol. Brain Research 948: 149-154, 2002.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, and RJ Contreras. Altered NaCl taste responses precede increased NaCl ingestion during Na+ deprivation. Physiology and Behavior 72: 743-749, 2001. 

Contreras, RJ, DL Wong, R Henderson, KS Curtis, and JC Smith. High dietary NaCl early in development enhances mean arterial pressure of adult rats. Physiology and Behavior 71: 173-181, 2000.

Hasser, EM, JT Cunningham, MJ Sullivan, KS Curtis, EH Blaine, and M Hay. The area postrema and sympathetic nervous system effects of vasopressin and angiotensin II. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 27: 432-436, 2000. 

Curtis, KS, W Huang, JG Verbalis, AF Sved, and EM Stricker. Impaired osmoregulatory responses in rats with area postrema lesions. American Journal of Physiology 277: R209-R219, 1999.

Curtis, KS, JT Cunningham, and CM Heesch. Fos expression in brain stem nuclei of pregnant rats after hydralazine-induced hypotension. American Journal of Physiology 277: R532-R540, 1999.

 

 

Research Interests

Central nervous system processes in the maintenance of homeostasis; estrogen effects within the central nervous system related to body fluid regulation, body weight regulation, and responses to physiological stress. I use neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, physiological, and behavioral methods to investigate central pathways and neurotransmitter systems involved in regulated physiological processes.

The goal of my research is to understand the central processes by which diverse sensory signals are integrated and coordinated with physiological and behavioral output to maintain homeostasis, and the role of estrogen in those central processes.

One research direction focuses on estrogen and the central control of body fluid regulation. These studies emphasize the central effects of estrogen in response to acute and chronic challenges to body sodium levels, or to body fluid volume balance, and examine:

  • activity in phenotypically-identified neurons in central areas involved in body fluid regulation
  • the contribution of peripheral neural and hormonal signals to activity in these areas;
  • the functional connectivity among neurons in these areas
  • compensatory behavioral (e.g., salt intake, water intake) and physiological (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate) responses to perturbations of body sodium or body fluid volume

The overall goal is to determine whether specific subpopulations of neurons are differentially activated by and/or mediate compensatory responses to body fluid challenges.

Another research direction focuses on the role of estrogen in body weight regulation and the control of food intake. These studies emphasize the central effects of estrogen in response to restricted access to food and examine:

  • activity in phenotypically-identified neurons in central areas associated with the control of feeding
  • peripheral and central neural mechanisms by which estrogen influences food intake
  • the role of central estrogen receptors in these effects

The overall goal is to determine whether specific subpopulations of neurons and of central estrogen receptors contribute to feeding and body weight regulation during restricted access to food.

A more recent research direction focuses on estrogen effects on physiological and behavioral manifestations of stress.These studies emphasize the central effects of estrogen and of moderate intensity exercise in response to acute and repeated stressors and examine:

  • hormonal and behavioral responses to physiological stressors
  • effects of voluntary vs. forced exercise
  • interactions between physiological and psychogenic stressors

The overall goal is to assess the effects of estrogen, moderate intensity exercise, and their interactions in reducing anxiety in the face of diverse stressors.           

The importance of these studies for human health issues is clear. Obesity, hypertension and stroke are epidemic and in many cases the mechanism(s) remain unclear. Moreover, estrogen has been suggested to influence body weight and to have ‘cardioprotective’ effects, health issues likely to have increasing impact as the population ages. Thus, this research not only will further understanding of the role of the central nervous system in regulated physiological processes, but also has important clinical implications.

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