Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences Bldg 87, James Cook University,
Townsville, 4811, Queensland, Australia
Telephone: 61-7-4781 6992 Fax: 61-7-4779-1526
The main research goal during the last 20 years has been to better understand the neurobiological basis of abnormal behaviour to identify therapeutic targets for future translational development of treatment for mental disorders, such as addiction, depression and schizophrenia.
My group was the first to identify the role of stress neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin in drug addiction, using a combination of behavioural and neuroendocrinological techniques. For this body of work I was awarded the highly prestigious Curt P. Richter Prize by the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology (ISPN).
More recently, my research has been focusing on the neurobiology of addiction and other psychiatric disorders with special emphasis on gene-environment interactions. In particular, I am interested in the role of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in the mediation of the effects of stress on psychostimulant addiction. We have shown that CRF mediates a number of neuroendocrine and behavioural effects of cocaine in rodent, primates and in humans and that CRF also plays a key role in the development of cocaine withdrawal syndrome.
During the last decade I have been focusing on behavioural animal models of psychiatric disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia. I discovered that 5HT1A receptors play a key role in hippocampal learning and memory and neuroplasticity by using knockout mice. My group identified that life-long CRF over-expression in the brain leads to altered behavioural adaptation to novelty and social recognition memory, which may contribute to stress-related psychopathology. I am also interested in the mechanism of schizophrenia and the effects of antipsychotic drugs.
Stress, CRF and addiction (collaborators: Prof. Berend Olivier and Assoc. Prof. Lucianne Groenink, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
Neurobiology of schizophrenia: role of glucose metabolism (collaborators: Prof. Sabine Bahn, University of Cambridge, UK; Prof. Laszlo G. Boros, UCLA, USA)
Translational research on schizophrenia and depression: the role of immune and metabolic factors (collaborator: Dr. Johann Steiner, Deputy Head of Psychiatry, University of Magdeburg, Germany)
Early life stress, developmental programming and changes in mood and cognition in later life: pharmacological interventions (collaborator: Prof. Bernhard Baune, University of Adelaide, Australia)
Translational research on stress, allostasis and the emergence of disease
|Group Head:||Associate Professor Zoltan Sarnyai|
|Busse, S., Bernstein, H-G., Busse, M., Marwin, C., Muller, S., Sarnyai, Z., Gos, T., Bogerts, B., Steiner, J. Reduced density of hypothalamic VGF immunoreactive neurons in schizophrenia: a potential link to impaired growth factor signaling and energy metabolism. Eur. Arch. Psych. Clin. Neurosci. (published online: 14 December, 2011)|
|Cao, Z.F.H., Burdakov, D., Sarnyai, Z. . Addiction Biol. 2011 16(4):519-531.|
|Steiner, J., Walter, M., Gos, T., Guillemin, G.J., Bernstein, H-G., Sarnyai, Z., Marwin, C., Brisch, R., Bielau, H., zu Schwabedissen, L.M., Bogerts, B., A-M., Myint. Severe depression is associated with increased microglial quinolinic acid in subregions of the anterior cingulate gyrus: Evidence for an immune-modulated glutaminergic transmission? J. Neuroinflammation 2011 Aug 10;8:94.|
|Sarnyai, Z. Alsaif, M., Bahn, S., Ernst, A., Guest, P., Hradetzky, E., Kluge, W., Stelzhammer, V., Wesseling, H., Behavioural and molecular biomarkers in translational animal models for neuropsychiatric disorders. In Sabine Bahn and Paul C. Guest, editors: Int. Rev. Neurobiol., Vol. 101, Burlington: Academic Press, 2011, pp. 203-238.|
|Steiner, J., Bogerts, B., Sarnyai, Z., Gos, T., Bernstein, H-G., Myint, A-E., Bridging the gaps between the immune and glutamate hypothesis of schizophrenia and depression: Potential role of glial NMDA receptor modulators and impaired blood-brain barrier integrity. World J. Biol. Pysch. 2011 Jun 28. [Epub ahead of print]|
|Sarnyai, Z. Oxytocin as a potential mediator and modulator of drug addiction. Addiction Biol. 16:199-201. 2011|
|Steiner, J., Sarnyai, Z., Bogerts, B., Walter, M., Gos, T., Bernstein, H-G., Westphal, S., Keilhoff, G. Protective effects of haloperidol and clozapine on energy-deprived OLN-93 oligodendrocytes. Eur. Arch. Psych. Clin. Neurosci. 261:477-482. 2011|
|Kasahara, M., Groenink, L., Kas, M., Biljsma, E.Y., Olivier, B. and Sarnyai, Z. Influence of transgenic corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) over-expression on social recognition memory in mice. Behav. Brain Res. 218:357-362. 2011.|