Ronald Tuma, PhD
G. H. Stewart Professor, Physiology
Office: Old Medical School room 231
Department of Physiology
Department of Neurosurgery
Center for Substance Abuse Research
The major research efforts in Dr. Tuma’s laboratory are directed at investigation of inflammatory reactions that contribute to central nervous system injury following stroke, trauma, and autoimmune disease, and how modulation of the activity of specific cannabinoid receptors influences the progress of these diseases. Experimental models utilized in these investigations include animal models of stroke, head injury, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis (Experimental Allergic Encephalitis). His group was the first to demonstrate that modulation of the activation of cannabinoid 2 receptors has a significant impact on the development of a model of multiple sclerosis, as well as on the magnitude of damage in mouse models of stroke and spinal cord injury, and in collaboration with a group at Jefferson University, head injury. Currently, in collaboration with Dr. Ganea’s laboratory, they are investigating of the mechanisms through which cannabinoids impact secondary damage to the CNS following injury, including effects on endothelial cells, microglia and peripheral immune cells, and how alterations in cytokine/chemokine release may influence interaction among these cell types. They are also collaborating with Dr. Wards laboratory to evaluate the effect of CB2 agonists on memory and learning following stroke and on the potential of this compound to enhance the effectiveness of opioids following injury to the central nervous system. It is hoped that synthetic cannabinoids may therefore have a dual action of increasing the efficacy of pain management while simultaneously protecting the nervous system from damage caused by trauma, disease and treatment with opioids.
Ronald F. Tuma, Walter N. Duran and Klaus Ley. Handbook of Physiology: Microcirculation. Academic Press 2008