Photo of Virginia L. Brooks, Ph.D.

Virginia L. Brooks Ph.D.

    • Professor of Chemical Physiology and Biochemistry School of Medicine
    • Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences School of Medicine

We study brain control of the autonomic nervous system and blood pressure, not only in normal individuals, but also the changes that occur with obesity and pregnancy. A recent focus is the actions and neurocircuitry by which metabolically relevant proteins and peptides, such as insulin, leptin, alpha-MSH, Neuropeptide Y, and angiotensin II, alter basal and baroreflex control of sympathetic nerve activity and heart rate. Our experimental strategies are generally integrative and range from acute and chronic measurements of blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity in conscious and anesthetized rats and mice, brain nanoinjections, immunohistochemistry, standard molecular techniques, and most recently select hypothalamic expression of DREADDs (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) and manipulation of specific brain proteins via the use of select viral vectors.

Recent discoveries

Identification of the arcuate nucleus as the site at which insulin increases sympathetic nerve activity (Cassaglia et al. J.Physiol. 2011).

Identification of Neuropeptide Y in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus as a potent tonic inhibitor of sympathetic nerve activity (Cassaglia et al. J.Physiol. 2014).

We discovered profound sex differences in the sympathoexcitatory effects of leptin (Li et al. Hypertension 2013 and Shi and Brooks. J.Physiol. 2014).

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Education

  • B.S., Oakland University 1972
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan 1978

Publications

  • "Autonomic Control During Pregnancy"   2012
  • "Roles of nitric oxide and angiotensin II in the impaired baroreflex gain of pregnancy" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology June 2007
  • "Regional conductance changes during hemorrhage in pregnant and nonpregnant conscious rabbits" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology September 1999
  • "Vasopressin and angiotensin II in reflex regulation of heart rate" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1992
  • "Impaired baroreflex gain during pregnancy in conscious rats" Hypertension February 2011
  • "Central action of increased osmolality to support blood pressure in deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt rats" Hypertension October 2006
  • "Changes in the baroreflex during pregnancy in conscious dogs" Endocrinology November 1994
  • "Decreased cardiac baroreflex gain during pregnancy in conscious rabbits" FASEB Journal  1996
  • "ANG II chronically supports renal and lumbar sympathetic activity in sodium-deprived, conscious rats" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1996
  • "Methysergide delays the decompensatory responses to severe hemorrhage by activating 5-HT(1A) receptors" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  2000
  • "Time course of synergistic interaction between DOCA and salt on blood pressure" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  2006
  • "Ganglionic tyrosine hydroxylase and norepinephrine transporter are decreased by increased sodium chloride in vivo and in vitro" Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical September 30 2003
  • "Renal nerves, WNK4, glucocorticoids, and salt transport" Cell Metabolism June 8 2011
  • "Pregnancy and the endocrine regulation of the baroreceptor reflex" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology August 2010
  • "Endogenous angiotensin h maintains lumbar sympathetic nerve activity and heart rate in conscious, sodium deprived rats" FASEB Journal  1996
  • "Intracerebroventricular infusion of angiotensin II inhibits aldosterone secretion." American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology December 1980
  • "Hormonal-sympathetic interactions in long-term regulation of arterial pressure" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1995
  • "Diet-induced obesity severely impairs myelinated aortic baroreceptor reflex responses" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology May 15 2012
  • "Alterations in the baroreflex occur late in pregnancy in conscious rabbits" American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology  1997
  • "ANG II receptor blockade and arterial baroreflex regulation of renal nerve activity in cardiac failure" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1995
  • "GABA in the paraventricular nucleus tonically suppresses baroreflex function" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology June 2011
  • "Interaction between angiotensin II and the baroreceptor reflex in the control of adrenocorticotropic hormone secretion and heart rate in conscious dogs" Circulation Research  1986
  • "Intravenous vasopressin infusion decreases plasma ACTH concentration in conscious dogs" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1988
  • "Is osmolality a long-term regulator of renal sympathetic nerve activity in conscious water-deprived rats?" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  2002
  • "Refresher course for teaching renal physiology" American Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education  1998
  • "Vasopressin and ANG II in the control of ACTH secretion and arterial and atrial pressures" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1989
  • "Endogenous ANG II supports lumbar sympathetic activity in conscious sodium-deprived rats" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1998
  • "Chronic infusion of angiotensin II resets baroreflex control of heart rate by an arterial pressure-independent mechanism" Hypertension  1995
  • "Chronic ANG II infusion and reflex control of norepinephrine and corticosterone in conscious rabbits" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology  1997
  • "Pressure to change? Re-evaluating the role of baroreceptors in the long-term control of arterial pressure" American Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology April 2005

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