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K.C. Brennan



Assistant Professor of Neurology

The Brennan Lab
Neurobiology of Disease





B.A. 1993, Georgetown University; M.D. 2001, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons; Internship 2001-2001, George Washington University Medical Center; Residency 2002-2005 UCLA; Postdoc 2005-2008 UCLA.


Optical and electrophysiological investigation of the basic mechanisms of migraine

Dr. Brennan's laboratory studies derangements of brain excitability. A particular interest is cortical spreading depression (CSD), a wave of runaway excitation that is thought to be the basis of the migraine aura. CSD is also involved in traumatic brain injury, stroke, and epilepsy.

The lab uses a combination of techniques including optical intrinsic signal imaging and spectroscopy, voltage sensitive dye imaging, two-photon microscopy, and electrophysiology to study CSD and the disorders it affects.

Selected Publications:

Chang, J.C., Brennan, K.C., He, D., Huang, H., Miura, R.M., Wilson, P.L., and Wylie, J.J. (2013) A mathematical model of the metabolic & perfusion effects on cortical spreading depression. PLOS One, 8(8): e70469.

Clarkson, A.N., Lopez-Valdes, H.E., Overman, J.J., Charles, A.C., Brennan, K.C.*, and Carmichael, S.T.* (2013) Multimodal examination of structural and functional remapping in the mouse photothrombotic stroke model. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.7. *Equal contribution.

Brennan, K.C., Bates, E.A., Shapiro, R.E., Zyuzin, J., Hallows, W.C., Huang, Y., Lee, H.Y., Jones, C.R., Fu, Y.H., Charles, A.C., and Ptacek, L.J. (2013) Casein kinase 1 delta mutations in familial migraine and advanced sleep phase. Sci Transl Med, accepted.

Theriot, J.J., Toga, A.W., Prakash, N., Ju, Y.S., and Brennan, K.C. (2012) Cortical Sensory Plasticity in a Model of Migraine with Aura. J. Neurosci., 32:15252-15261.

Bogdanov, V.B., Bogdanova, O.V., Koulchitsky, S.V., Chauvel, V., Multon, S., Makarchuk, M.Y., Brennan, K.C., Renshaw, P.F., and Schoenen, J. (2013) Behavior in the open field predicts the number of KCl-induced cortical spreading depressions in rats. Behav Brain Res, Jan 1;236(1):90-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Aug 14. PMID: 22981717

Digre, K.B., and Brennan, K.C. (2012) Shedding light on photophobia. J Neuroophthalmol, Mar;32(1):68-81. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0b013e3182474548. Review. PMID: 22330853

Ahn, A.H., and Brennan, K.C. (2012) Unanswered questions in headache: how does a migraine attack stop?Headache, Jan;52(1):186-187. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2011.02078.x. Epub 2012 Jan 3. PMID: 22221296

Tang, Y.T., Kim, J., López-Valdés, H.E., Brennan, K.C., and Ju, Y.S. (2011) Development and characterization of a microfluidic chamber incorporating fluid ports with active suction for localized chemical stimulation of brain slices.Lab Chip, Jul 7;11(13):2247-2254. Epub 2011 May 12. PMID: 21562669

Chang, J.C., Brennan, K.C., and Chou T. (2011) Tracking monotonically advancing boundaries in image sequences using graph cuts and recursive kernel shape priors. IEEE Trans Med Imaging, May;31(5):1008-1020. Epub 2011 Dec 5. PMID: 22156978

Brennan, K.C. (2011) Turn down the lights! An irritable occipital cortex in migraine without aura. Neurology, 76(3):206-207.

Chang, J.C., Shook, L.L., Biag, J., Nguyen, E.N., Toga, A.W., Charles, A.C., and Brennan, K.C. (2010) Biphasic direct current shift, haemoglobin desaturation and neurovascular uncoupling in cortical spreading depression. Brain, 133(Pt 4):996-1012.

Lopez-Valdes, H.E., Beltran-Parrazal, L., Brennan, K.C., and Charles, A.C. (2010) Bradykinin increases resensitization of purinergic receptor signaling in glioma cells. Cancer Cell Int, 10:35.

Brennan, K.C., and Charles, A. (2010) An update on the blood vessel in migraine. Curr Opin Neurol, 23(3):266-274.

Tang, Y.T., Kim, J., Lopez-Valdes, H., Brennan, K.C., and Ju, Y.S. (2010) Microfluidic Chamber with Active Suction Ports for Localized Chemical Stimulation of Brain Slices. Proceedings of IEEE 23rd International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems. Hong Kong, China, 304-307.

Charles, A., and Brennan, K.C. (2010) The neurobiology of migraine. Handb Clin Neurol, 97:99-108.

Bates, E., Nikai, T., Brennan, K.C., Fu, Y.H., Charles, A., Basbaum, A., Ptacek, L., and Ahn, A. (2009) Sumatriptan alleviates nitroglycerin-induced mechanical and thermal allodynia in mice. Cephalalgia (Epub ahead of print).

Charles, A., and Brennan, K. (2009) Cortical spreading depression-new insights and persistent questions. Cephalalgia, 29(10):1115-1124.

Brennan, K.C., and Charles, A. (2009) Sleep and headache. Semin Neurol, 29(4):406-418.

Brennan, K.C., and Toga, A.W. (2009) Intraoperative optical imaging. In: Frostig R (Ed.), Methods for in vivo Optical Imaging of the Central Nervous System. CRC Press.

Charles, A., and Brennan, K.C. (2008) A touch of increased pain: cutaneous allodynia in migraine. Ann Neurol, 63(2):130-132.

Brennan, K.C., and Charles, A.C. (2008) Mechanisms of cortical spreading depression as targets for migraine therapy. In: OlesenJ, Ramadan N (Eds.), Frontiers in Headache Research: Innovative Drug Development for Headache Disorders. Oxford University Press.

Charles, A.C., and Brennan, K.C. (2008) Glial cell calcium signaling. In: Squire L (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Elsevier Press.

Charles, A., Flippen, C., Romero Reyes, M., and Brennan, K.C. (2007) Memantine for prevention of migraine: a retrospective study of 60 cases. J Headache Pain, 8(4):248-250.

Brennan, K.C., Romero Reyes, M., Lopez Valdes, H.E., Arnold, A.P., and Charles, A.C. (2007) Reduced threshold for cortical spreading depression in female mice. Ann Neurol, 61(6):603-606.

Brennan, K.C., Beltran-Parrazal, L., Lopez-Valdes, H.E., Theriot, J., Toga, A.W., and Charles, A.C. (2007) Distinct vascular conduction with cortical spreading depression. J Neurophysiol, 97(6):4143-4151.

Beltran-Parrazal, L., López-Valdés, H.E., Brennan, K.C., Díaz-Muñoz, M., de Vellis, J., and Charles, A.C. (2006) Mitochondrial transport in processes of cortical neurons is independent of intracellular calcium. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol, 291(6):C1193-1197.

Matsumoto, J., Saver, J.L., Brennan, K.C., and Ringman, J.M. (2005) Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with lactic acidosis and stroke (MELAS). Reviews in Neurological Diseases, 2(1):30-34.

Brennan, K.C., Jurewicz, E.C., Ford, B., Pullman, S.L., and Louis, E.D. (2002) Is essential tremor predominantly a kinetic or a postural tremor? A clinical and electrophysiological study. Mov Disord, 17(2):313-316.

Sakai, N., Brennan, K., Weiss, L., and Matile, S. (1997) Toward Biomimetic Ion Channels Formed by Rigid-Rod Molecules: Length-Dependent Ion-Transport Activity of Oligo(p-Phenylene)s. J Am Chem Soc, 119: 8726-8727.

Selected Presentations:

Brennan KC, Shapiro R, Ptacek L, Charles A. Reduced threshold for cortical spreading depression and increased vasodilatation in mice expressing CK1δT44A. 48th Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society, Los Angeles CA, 06/24/2006. pdf

Brennan KC, Zyuzin J, Schultz N, Chang J, Bogdanov V, Multon S, van den Maagdenberg A, Charles A, Schoenen J. Anisotropy of cortical spreading depression: relevance to migraine. 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society. Los Angeles, CA, 06/25/2010. pdf

Last Updated: 4/18/17