Chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla are a primary neuroendocrine output of the sympathetic nervous system. It is the overall goal of the lab to determine the secretory behavior of the chromaffin cells under both basal sympathetic tone as well as under the acute sympathetic stress response. Our lab focuses on the manner in which chromaffin cells release different classes of transmitter under physiological stimulation. These studies take place on several different levels. We study the manner in which the sympathetic nervous system excites chromaffin cells at the splanchnic/adreno synapse and how this innervation and excitation functions under varied sympathetic activity levels. We also study the downstream effects of excitation in the chromaffin cells themselves with an emphasis on how chromaffin cells achieve activity-dependent differential release of different classes of neurotransmitters. Major techniques utilized in these studies include electrophysiology, electrochemistry, quantitative imaging and protein chemistry.
Principal Investigator: Corey Smith, PhD