Photo of Sue A. Aicher, Ph.D.

Sue A. Aicher Ph.D.

  • (503) 418-2550
    • Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology School of Medicine
    • Neuroscience Graduate Program School of Medicine

Dr. Aicher has a long-standing interest in primary afferent sensory systems and how sensory information leads to physiological and behavioral changes in the organism.   Due to her extensive work using various histological methods, she has been referred to as a card-carrying anatomist although her formal degrees are in psychology and behavior.    The lab focuses on the cellular mechanism underlying normal and pathophysiological functions in both pain and autonomic reflex pathways.  These studies use a variety of techniques including tract tracing, dual labeling immunocytochemistry, electron microscopy, optical densitometry, behavioral and physiological measurements, and single neuron activity in the brain.  Dr. Aicher also collaborates extensively with colleagues at OHSU within the Physiology and Pharmacology department, across the campus, across the Columbia River, the US and in Australia. 


  • "Select noxious stimuli induce changes on corneal nerve morphology." Journal of Comparative Neurology In: , Vol. 525, No. 8, 01.06.2017, p. 2019-2031.
  • "Endogenous opioids regulate moment-to-moment neuronal communication and excitability." Nature Communications In: , Vol. 8, 14611, 22.03.2017.
  • "Optogenetic stimulation of arcuate nucleus kiss1 neurons reveals a steroid-dependent glutamatergic input to POMC and AgRP neurons in male mice." Molecular Endocrinology In: , Vol. 30, No. 6, 01.06.2016, p. 630-644.
  • "Localization of TRPV1 and P2X3 in unmyelinated and myelinated vagal afferents in the rat." Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy In: , Vol. 72, 01.03.2016, p. 1-7.
  • "Ligand-biased activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 leads to differences in opioid induced antinociception and tolerance." Behavioural Brain Research In: , Vol. 298, 01.02.2016, p. 17-24.
  • "Denervation of the lacrimal gland leads to corneal hypoalgesia in a novel rat model of aqueous dry eye disease." Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science In: , Vol. 56, No. 11, 01.10.2015, p. 6981-6989.
  • "Localization and expression of GABA transporters in the suprachiasmatic nucleus." European Journal of Neuroscience In: , 2015.
  • "Capsaicin-responsive corneal afferents do not contain TRPV1 at their central terminals in trigeminal nucleus caudalis in rats." Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy In: , Vol. 61, 01.11.2014, p. 1-12.
  • "Physiological temperatures drive glutamate release onto trigeminal superficial dorsal horn neurons." Journal of Neurophysiology In: , Vol. 111, No. 11, 01.06.2014, p. 2222-2231.
  • "Corneal pain activates a trigemino-parabrachial pathway in rats." Brain Research In: , Vol. 1550, 06.03.2014, p. 18-26.
  • "Differential content of vesicular glutamate transporters in subsets of vagal afferents projecting to the nucleus tractus solitarii in the rat." Journal of Comparative Neurology In: , Vol. 522, No. 3, 15.02.2014, p. 642-653.
  • "Chronic inflammatory pain prevents tolerance to the antinociceptive effect of morphine microinjected into the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray of the rat." Journal of Pain In: , Vol. 14, No. 12, 12.2013, p. 1601-1610.
  • "Corneal afferents differentially target thalamic- and parabrachial-projecting neurons in spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis." Neuroscience In: , Vol. 232, 01.03.2013, p. 182-193.
  • "Columnar distribution of catecholaminergic neurons in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray and their relationship to efferent pathways." Synapse In: , Vol. 67, No. 2, 02.2013, p. 94-108.
  • "Distribution of CB1 cannabinoid receptors and their relationship with mu-opioid receptors in the rat periaqueductal gray." Neuroscience In: , Vol. 213, 28.06.2012, p. 191-200.
  • "Chronic psychostimulant exposure to adult, but not periadolescent rats reduces subsequent morphine antinociception." Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior In: , Vol. 101, No. 4, 06.2012, p. 538-543.
  • "Descending projections from the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) to trigeminal and spinal dorsal horns are morphologically and neurochemically distinct." Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy In: , Vol. 43, No. 2, 03.2012, p. 103-111.
  • "Insulin acts in the arcuate nucleus to increase lumbar sympathetic nerve activity and baroreflex function in rats." Journal of Physiology In: , Vol. 589, No. 7, 04.2011, p. 1643-1662.
  • "Differential localization of vesicular glutamate transporters and peptides in corneal afferents to trigeminal nucleus caudalis." Journal of Comparative Neurology In: , Vol. 518, No. 17, 01.09.2010, p. 3557-3569.
  • "Opioid receptor internalization contributes to dermorphin-mediated antinociception." Neuroscience In: , Vol. 168, No. 2, 06.2010, p. 543-550.
  • "Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation counteracts morphine tolerance in the periaqueductal gray of the rat." Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics In: , Vol. 331, No. 2, 11.2009, p. 412-418.
  • "Absence of gp130 in dopamine β-hydroxylase-expressing neurons leads to autonomic imbalance and increased reperfusion arrhythmias." American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology In: , Vol. 297, No. 3, 09.2009.
  • "Sustained hypertension increases the density of AMPA receptor subunit, GluR1, in baroreceptive regions of the nucleus tractus solitarii of the rat." Brain Research In: , Vol. 1187, No. 1, 02.01.2008, p. 125-136.
  • "Decreased Substance P and NK1 Receptor Immunoreactivity and Function in the Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn of Morphine-Treated Neonatal Rats." Journal of Pain In: , Vol. 9, No. 1, 01.2008, p. 11-19.
  • "Kainate receptors are primarily postsynaptic to SP-containing axon terminals in the trigeminal dorsal horn." Brain Research In: , Vol. 1184, No. 1, 12.12.2007, p. 149-159.
  • "Cellular heterogeneity within the solitary tract nucleus and visceral afferent processing - Electrophysiological approaches to discerning pathway performance." Tzu Chi Medical Journal In: , Vol. 19, No. 4, 12.2007, p. 181-185.
  • "A-type potassium channels differentially tune afferent pathways from rat solitary tract nucleus to caudal ventrolateral medulla or paraventricular hypothalamus." Journal of Physiology In: , Vol. 582, No. 2, 07.2007, p. 613-628.
  • "Kappa opioid receptors in the rostral ventromedial medulla of male and female rats." Journal of Comparative Neurology In: , Vol. 500, No. 3, 20.01.2007, p. 465-476.
  • "Kappa opioid receptor (KOR) and GAD67 immunoreactivity are found in OFF and NEUTRAL cells in the rostral ventromedial medulla." Journal of Neurophysiology In: , Vol. 96, No. 6, 12.2006, p. 3465-3473.
  • "Primary afferent NMDA receptors increase dorsal horn excitation and mediate opiate tolerance in neonatal rats." Journal of Neuroscience In: , Vol. 26, No. 46, 15.11.2006, p. 12033-12042.

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