Sven-Eric Jordt PhD

Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Psychiatry

Research Interests

Sense of touch and pain in humans and animals; Chemosensory processes in sensory neurons and their role in chemical environmental exposures; Neural sensitization in asthma; Hypersensitivity disorders

Research Summary

In my laboratory we are interested in how humans and animals sense touch and pain. These fundamental sensations originate in peripheral sensory neurons which contain signaling pathways that translate environmental stimuli into neural activity. Our aims are to identify the molecular components of these pathways and to understand how sensory neurons become sensitized during injury and chronic painful conditions such as inflammation. In our current studies we use pharmacological, molecular genetic and physiological approaches as well as fluorescent imaging techniques to investigate the properties of ion channel proteins that serve as sensors for temperature and noxious stimuli in sensory neurons. These proteins belong to the gene family of TRP (transient receptor potential) ion channels, some of which are the targets of natural plant products that activate the sensation of heat and pain (capsaicin, mustard oil) or cold (menthol). We are using these compounds as chemical probes to study how TRP channels are activated, how they interact with endogenous ligands and how temperature sensing occurs. Another goal in our lab is to understand how signaling pathways are used to increase TRP channel activity in disease. TRP channels are regulated by other receptor systems through membrane phospholipid turnover, kinase pathways and endogenous ligands. Increased channel activity results in neural sensitization that causes hypersensitivity to sensory input and contributes to painful inflammation by a mechanism known as neurogenic inflammation. This mechanism is important for conditions such as arthritis, vasculitis, psoriasis, intra- and postoperative pain, trauma, invading cancer and visceral and musculoskeletal disorders. With our studies we hope to gain new mechanistic insights into neurogenic inflammation, identify potential pharmacological targets and reveal basic molecular and cellular mechanisms of sensory transduction.

Selected Publications

  • Willis, D.N., Liu, B., Ha, M.A., Jordt, S.E., and Morris, J.B. (2011). Menthol attenuates respiratory irritation responses to multiple cigarette smoke irritants. The FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
  • Caceres, A. I., Brackmann M., Elia M. D., Bessac B. F., Del Camino D., D'Amours M., Witek J. S., Fanger C. M., Chong J. A., Hayward N. J., Homer R. J., Cohn L., Huang X., Moran M. M., Jordt S. E. (2009). A sensory neuronal ion channel essential for airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in asthma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 May 19.
  • Bessac, B. F., Jordt S. E. (2008) Breathtaking TRP channels: TRPA1 and TRPV1 in airway chemosensation and reflex control. Physiology (Bethesda). 2008 Dec23:360-70.
  • Bautista, D.M., Siemens, J., Glazer, J.M., Tsuruda, P.R., Basebaum, A.I., Stucky, C.L. *, Jordt, S.E. *, Julius, D. *, The Menthol Receptor TRPM8 is the Principal Detector of Environmental Cold. Nature, 448: 204-208 (2007)
  • Bautista, D.M. *, Jordt, S.E. *, Nikai, T., Tsuruda, P.R., Read A.J., Poblete, J., Yamoah, A.N., Basebaum, A.I., and Julius, D., TRPA1 Mediates the Inflammatory Actions of Environmental Irritants and Proalgesic Agents. Cell, 124: 1269-1282 (2006)
  • Bautista, D. M., Movahed, P., Hinman, A., Axelsson, H. E., Sterner, O. , Hogestatt, E. D., Julius, D., Jordt, S.E. *, Zygmunt, P. M.*, Pungent Products From Garlic Activate The Sensory Ion Channel TRPA1. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 102(34): 12248-12252 (2005)
  • Jordt, S.E., Bautista, D. M., Chuang, H. H., McKemy, D. D., Zygmunt, P. M., Hogestatt, E. D., Meng, I. D. and Julius, D., Mustard Oils And Cannabinoids Excite Sensory Nerve Fibers Via The TRP Channel ANKTM1. Nature 427: 260-265 (2004)
  • Jordt, S.E., McKemy, D. D. and Julius, D., Lessons From Peppers And Peppermint: The Molecular Logic Of Thermosensation. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 13: 487-492 (2003)
  • Jordt, S.E. and Julius, D., Molecular Basis For Species-Specific Sensitivity To "Hot" Chili Peppers. Cell, 108: 421-430 (2002)

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