Erica Levitt

Erica Levitt, Ph.D.

AST PROF

Department: MD-PHARMACOLOGY / THERAPEUTICS
Business Phone: (352) 294-8651
Business Email: erica.levitt@ufl.edu

Research Profile

Prescription opioid overdose is increasing at a rapid rate. Respiratory depression is the primary cause of death from opioid overdose, yet surprisingly, very little is known about the mechanisms of opioid-induced respiratory depression. Breathing, like other motor behaviors, is coordinated by a central neural network. The goal of the Levitt Lab is to understand how opioids modulate neurons in the respiratory network to cause breathing disturbances. A variety of cellular and systems level approaches — including brain slice electrophysiology, single unit and whole nerve recordings from a unique preparation with an intact respiratory network and in vivo-like respiratory cycle, and plethysmography in awake animals — are used to achieve this goal.

Publications

2021
Acute morphine blocks spinal respiratory motor plasticity via long-latency mechanisms that require toll-like receptor 4 signalling.
The Journal of physiology. 599(15):3771-3797 [DOI] 10.1113/JP281362. [PMID] 34142718.
2021
Evaluation of G protein bias and β-arrestin 2 signaling in opioid-induced respiratory depression.
American journal of physiology. Cell physiology. 321(4):C681-C683 [DOI] 10.1152/ajpcell.00259.2021. [PMID] 34469203.
2021
Neurochemistry of the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus from a respiratory perspective.
Journal of neurochemistry. 156(1):16-37 [DOI] 10.1111/jnc.15041. [PMID] 32396650.
2021
Neuronal mechanisms underlying opioid-induced respiratory depression: our current understanding.
Journal of neurophysiology. 125(5):1899-1919 [DOI] 10.1152/jn.00017.2021. [PMID] 33826874.
2021
Understanding and countering opioid-induced respiratory depression.
British journal of pharmacology. [DOI] 10.1111/bph.15580. [PMID] 34089181.
2020
Differential impact of two critical respiratory centres in opioid-induced respiratory depression in awake mice.
The Journal of physiology. 598(1):189-205 [DOI] 10.1113/JP278612. [PMID] 31589332.
2020
Kölliker-Fuse/Parabrachial complex mu opioid receptors contribute to fentanyl-induced apnea and respiratory rate depression.
Respiratory physiology & neurobiology. 275 [DOI] 10.1016/j.resp.2020.103388. [PMID] 31953234.
2019
Phosphorylation-deficient G-protein-biased μ-opioid receptors improve analgesia and diminish tolerance but worsen opioid side effects.
Nature communications. 10(1) [DOI] 10.1038/s41467-018-08162-1. [PMID] 30664663.
2018
Desensitization and Tolerance of Mu Opioid Receptors on Pontine Kölliker-Fuse Neurons.
Molecular pharmacology. 93(1):8-13 [DOI] 10.1124/mol.117.109603. [PMID] 29097440.
2015
Depression of Serotonin Synaptic Transmission by the Dopamine Precursor L-DOPA.
Cell reports. 12(6):944-54 [DOI] 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.07.005. [PMID] 26235617.
2015
μ opioid receptor activation hyperpolarizes respiratory-controlling Kölliker-Fuse neurons and suppresses post-inspiratory drive.
The Journal of physiology. 593(19):4453-69 [DOI] 10.1113/JP270822. [PMID] 26175072.
2013
A selective 5-HT1a receptor agonist improves respiration in a mouse model of Rett syndrome.
Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985). 115(11):1626-33 [DOI] 10.1152/japplphysiol.00889.2013. [PMID] 24092697.
2012
Morphine desensitization and cellular tolerance are distinguished in rat locus ceruleus neurons.
Molecular pharmacology. 82(5):983-92 [DOI] 10.1124/mol.112.081547. [PMID] 22914548.
2011
Gi/o-coupled receptors compete for signaling to adenylyl cyclase in SH-SY5Y cells and reduce opioid-mediated cAMP overshoot.
Molecular pharmacology. 79(3):461-71 [DOI] 10.1124/mol.110.064816. [PMID] 21098043.
2009
Differential effect of membrane cholesterol removal on mu- and delta-opioid receptors: a parallel comparison of acute and chronic signaling to adenylyl cyclase.
The Journal of biological chemistry. 284(33):22108-22122 [DOI] 10.1074/jbc.M109.030411. [PMID] 19520863.

Grants

Jul 2021 ACTIVE
Role of an arousal circuit in respiration and opioid-induced respiratory depression
Role: Other
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NHLBI
May 2021 ACTIVE
Projections of opioid-sensitive KF neurons
Role: Other
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDA
Apr 2019 ACTIVE
Neural basis of opioid-induced respiratory depression
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDA
Jan 2019 – Sep 2021
Effect of Positive Allosteric Modulation of Dopamine D2 Receptors on Respiration in Mouse models of Rett Syndrome
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: RETT SYNDROME FOU
Feb 2017 – Jan 2021
Opioid effects on respiratory-controlling pontine neurons
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH NIDA
Sep 2016 ACTIVE
Functional mapping of peripheral and central circuits for airway protection and breathing
Role: Project Manager
Funding: NATL INST OF HLTH OD

Teaching Profile

Courses Taught
2019-2021
GMS6530 Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics II: Cardiovascular, Renal and Respiratory Systems
2019-2021
GMS6520 Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics I: The Nervous System
2020-2021
PAS5026 Pharmacotherapeu 2
2018-2021
GMS6560 Molecules to Man: Past, Present and Future Therapeutic Strategies for Disease
2018-2021
DEN6262 Prin of Pharmacology
2018
GMS6052 Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes
2018
GMS7979 Advanced Research
2018
GMS7980 Research for Doctoral Dissertation
2018
EGN4912 Engineering Directed Independent Research
2017
GMS6029 Brain Journal Club
2017
GMS7794 Neuroscience Seminar
2021
GMS6022 Principles of Neuroscience II: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
2021
GMS7593 Topics in Pharmacology and Toxicology
2021
GMS6003 Fundamentals of Graduate Research and Professional Development

Contact Details

Phones:
Business:
(352) 294-8651
Emails: