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Annette Fleckenstein

Annette FleckensteinProfessor and Assistant Dean, School of Dentistry

Cellular Neuroscience
Neurobiology of Disease
Brain and Behavior




B.S. 1988, Western Michigan University; M.S. 1990, Western Michigan University; Ph.D. 1994, Michigan State University; Postdoctoral Fellow 1994-1995, National Institutes of Health - National Institute on Drug Abuse, Addiction Research Center


Neuropharmacology, neurochemistry and aminergic transporters

 Some psychostimulants of abuse can cause persistent damage to dopaminergic and/or serotonergic neurons in rodents, non-human primates and humans. For example, methamphetamine administration causes persistent dopaminergic deficits that, in part, resemble deficits occurring in Parkinson's disease. Dr. Fleckenstein's laboratory investigates receptor-mediated and subcellular mechanisms contributing to these deficits. A particular focus of the laboratory involves investigating the effects of stimulants on monoaminergic transporters, both because of relevance to the neurotoxicity of stimulants, and because of the laboratory's ongoing interest in the abuse liability of these agents.

A variety of techniques are employed in Dr. Fleckenstein's laboratory including radioligand binding, monoamine uptake assays, western blotting, autoradiography, and high performance liquid chromatography to assess alterations in monoaminergic neuronal function after both non-contingent, and more recently, contingent drug administration.

Ongoing projects involve investigating the impact of synthetic cathinones on monoaminergic neuronal function and behavior.  Also of interest are mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of nicotinic receptor activation.  Finally, using the Utah Population Data Base Dr. Fleckenstein and colleagues (Curtin et al., Neuropsychopharmacology, 2018) recently reported that individuals with attention deficit disorder are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease: preclinical studies to determine mechanisms underlying this vulnerability are planned."

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Last Updated: 6/4/21