Alvin Beitz, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Research Interests:

Dr. Beitz was trained as a neuroscientist and has an extensive background working in the areas of neural mechanisms of acute and chronic pain, neuroimmune interactions, neural mechanisms of acupuncture and the relationship between the immune system, inflammation and the development of pain. Currently Dr. Beitz's laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms that underlie the development of both acute and chronic cancer pain as well as the mechanisms associated with analgesia. There are currently three main research projects in the Beitz laboratory.  The first project is focused on determining the neurochemical and molecular basis of bone cancer pain.  Microperfusion techniques are used to obtain extracellular fluid samples from bone tumors in vivo, and peptides and proteins released at the tumor site and present in the microperfusate samples are analyzed using a variety of techniques including ELISA and mass spectrometry assays. The goal is to identify novel peptides and proteins that contribute to cancer pain and to test antagonists or antibodies against these substances or to knock down their mRNA expression to determine the efficacy of these interventions in reducing cancer pain.

The second project is aimed at examining the role that sex plays in the development of persistent pain states and to examine the effect of both pain and sex on immune function.  We are currently focusing on the role of sex hormones in the development and maintenance of cancer and inflammatory pain and how these hormones alter peptide and receptor expression in dorsal root ganglion cells.  The third project focuses on the role of acupuncture in treating chronic pain conditions including inflammatory, cancer and arthritic pain. We have shown that acupuncture can actually directly influence tumor growth and metastasis, which is associated with its effect on tumor associated inflammation.

Selected Publications:

(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)

  • Choi HS, Lee MJ, Choi SR, Smeester BA, Beitz AJ, Lee JH.  Spinal Sigma-1 Receptor-mediated Dephosphorylation of Astrocytic Aromatase Plays a Key Role in Formalin-induced Inflammatory Nociception. Neuroscience. 2018 Feb 21;372:181-191.  PMID: 29289721
  • Kim SJ, Yeo JH, Yoon SY, Kwon SG, Lee JH, Beitz AJ, Roh DH. Differential development of facial and hind paw allodynia in a nitroglycerin-induced mouse model of chronic migraine: Role of capsaicin sensitive primary afferents. Biol Pharm Bull. 2017 Nov 29. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b17-00589.
  • Choi HS, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Choi SR, Kwon SG, Kang SY, Moon JY, Han HJ, Beitz AJ, Lee JH. Differential involvement of ipsilateral and contralateral spinal cord astrocyte D-serine in carrageenan-induced mirror-image pain: role of sigma-1 receptors and astrocyte gap junctions. Br J Pharmacol. 2017 Nov 24. doi: 10.1111/bph.14109.
  • Smeester BA, Lee JH, Beitz AJ. Influence of social interaction on nociceptive-induced changes in locomotor activity in a mouse model of acute inflammatory pain: Use of novel thermal assays. Brain Res Bull. 2017;134:47-54.
  • Kwon SG, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Choi SR, Choi HS, Moon JY, Kang SY, Beitz AJ, Lee JH. Involvement of peripheral P2Y1 receptors and potential interaction with IL-1 receptors in IL-1β-induced thermal hypersensitivity in rats. Brain Res Bull. 2017;130:165-172.
  • Choi SR, Moon JY, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Kwon SG, Choi HS, Kang SY, Han HJ, Beitz AJ, Lee JH. Spinal D-serine increases PKC-dependent GluN1 phosphorylation contributing to the sigma-1 receptor-induced development of mechanical allodynia in a mouse model of neuropathic pain. J Pain. 2017;18(4):415-427.
  • Yoon SY, Kwon SG, Kim YH, Yeo JH, Ko HG, Roh DH, Kaang BK, Beitz AJ, Lee JH, Oh SB. A critical role of spinal Shank2 proteins in NMDA-induced pain hypersensitivity. Mol Pain. 2017 Jan;13:1744806916688902.
  • Choi HS, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Kwon SG, Choi SR, Kang SY, Moon JY, Han HJ, Kim HW, Beitz AJ, Lee JH. The role of spinal interleukin-1β and astrocyte connexin 43 in the development of mirror-image pain in an inflammatory pain model. Exp Neurol. 2016;287(Pt 1):1-13.
  • Yeo JH, Yoon SY, Kim SJ, Oh SJ, Lee JH, Beitz AJ, Roh DH. The alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist clonidine relieves mechanical allodynia in oxaliplatin-induced neuropathic mice; potentiation by spinal p38 MAPK inhibition without motor dysfunction and hypotension. Int J Cancer. 2016;138:2466-2476.
  • Kwon SG, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Choi SR, Choi HS, Moon JY, Kang SY, Kim HW, Han HJ, Beitz AJ, Oh SB, Lee JH. Role of peripheral sigma-1 receptors in ischaemic pain: Potential interactions with ASIC and P2X receptors. Brain Res Bull. 2016;121:227-32.
  • Yeo JH, Yoon SY, Kwon SK, Kim SJ, Lee JH, Beitz AJ, Roh DH. Repetitive acupoint treatment with diluted bee venom relieJ.ves mechanical allodynia and restores intraepidermal nerve fiber loss in oxaliplatin-induced neuropathic mice. J Pain. 2016;17(3):298-309.
  • Moon JY, Choi SR, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Kwon SG, Choi HS, Kang SY, Han HJ, Kim HW, Beitz AJ, Oh SB, Lee JH. Spinal sigma-1 receptor activation increases the production of d-serine in astrocytes which contributes to the development of mechanical allodynia in a mouse model of neuropathic pain. Pharmacol Res. 2015;100:353-64.
  • O'Brien EE, Smeester BA, Michlitsch KS, Lee JH, Beitz AJ. Colocalization of aromatase in spinal cord astrocytes: Differences in expression and relationship to mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia in murine models of a painful and a non-painful bone tumor. Neuroscience. 2015;301:235-45.
  • Choi HS, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Moon JY, Choi SR, Kwon SG, Kang SY, Han HJ, Kim HW, Beitz AJ, Oh SB, Lee JH. Microglial interleukin-1β in the ipsilateral dorsal horn inhibits the development of mirror-image contralateral mechanical allodynia through astrocyte activation in a rat model of inflammatory pain. Pain. 2015;156(6):1046-59.
  • Smeester BA, Lunzer MM, Akgün E, Beitz AJ, Portoghese PS. Targeting putative mu opioid/metabotropic glutamate receptor-5 heteromers produces potent antinociception in a chronic murine bone cancer model. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014;743:48-52.
  • Kwon SG, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Moon JY, Choi SR, Choi HS, Kang SY, Han HJ, Beitz AJ, Lee JH. Blockade of peripheral P2Y1 receptors prevents the induction of thermal hyperalgesia via modulation of TRPV1 expression in carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain rats: involvement of p38 MAPK phosphorylation in DRGs. Neuropharmacology. 2014;79:368-379.
  • Akgün E, Javed MI, Lunzer MM, Smeester BA, Beitz AJ, Portoghese PS. Ligands that interact with putative MOR-mGluR5 heteromer in mice with inflammatory pain produce potent antinociception. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(28):11595-9.
  • Choi SR, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Kang SY, Moon JY, Kwon SG, Choi HS, Han HJ, Beitz AJ, Oh SB, Lee JH. Spinal sigma-1 receptors activate NADPH oxidase 2 leading to the induction of pain hypersensitivity in mice and mechanical allodynia in neuropathic rats. Pharmacol Res. 2013;74:56-67.
  • Moon JY, Roh DH, Yoon SY, Kang SY, Choi SR, Kwon SG, Choi HS, Han HJ, Beitz AJ, Lee JH. Sigma-1 receptor-mediated increase in spinal p38 MAPK phosphorylation leads to the induction of mechanical allodynia in mice and neuropathic rats. Exp Neurol. 2013;247:383-391.
  • Roh DH, Seo MS, Choi HS, Park SB, Han HJ, Beitz AJ, Kang KS, Lee JH. Transplantation of human umbilical cord blood or amniotic epithelial stem cells alleviates mechanical allodynia after spinal cord injury in rats. Cell Transplant. 2013;22(9):1577-1590.
  • Smeester BA, Al-Gizawiy M, O'Brien EE, Ericson ME, Triemstra JL, Beitz AJ. The effect of electroacupuncture on osteosarcoma tumor growth and metastasis: analysis of different treatment regimens. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:809062.
  • Smeester BA, Al-Gizawiy M,, Beitz AJ. Effects of different electroacupuncture scheduling regimes on murine bone tumor-induced hyperalgesia: sex differences and role of inflammation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:671386.
  • Brink TS, Pacharinsak C, Khasabov SG, Beitz AJ, Simone DA. Differential modulation of neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla by neurokinin-1 receptors. J Neurophysiol. 2012;107:1210-1221.
  • Moon JY, Song S, Yoon SY, Roh DH, Kang SY, Park JH, Beitz AJ, Lee JH. The differential effect of intrathecal Nav1.8 blockers on the induction and maintenance of capsaicin- and peripheral ischemia-induced mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia. Anesth Analg. 2012;114:215-223

Former Graduate Students:

Lisa Bellavance (Ph.D. 1997, Neuroscience), Life Sciences Marketing Specialist & Editor, Molecular Simulations, Inc., San Diego, CA.

Ming Gu (Ph.D. 2007, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).

Uri Herzberg (Ph.D. Veterinary Biology, 1995), Research Scientist, Acorda Therapeutics, Hawthorne, NY.

Jang-Hern Lee (Ph.D. Veterinary Biology, 1994). Professor, Department of Veterinary Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, South Korea.

Jessica Lynch (Ph.D. 2006, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).