Seminar/Event Detail

"Psychic Cells": Physically Disconnected Non-diffusible Cell-cell Communication

Date/Time: 19 February 2013, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Speaker: Keith C. Norris, M.D.
Speaker Affiliation: University of California, Los Angeles
Venue: JABSOM MEB Rm. 304
For more info: For More Information: Pamela Bullard ( or 808-692-1475)

Description: “Psychic Cells”
Physically Disconnected Non-diffusible Cell-cell Communication

Keith C. Norris, M.D.
Assistant Dean for Clinical and Translational Science
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

Cell-cell communications occur over “long” (hormonal) and “short” distances (paracrine and synaptic) or through direct coupling via gap junctions, antigen presentation or ligand-receptor interactions. The possibility of neuro-hormonal-independent, non-diffusible, physically disconnected pathways for cell-cell communication was evaluated, by assessing intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]) in primary mouse dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons that express ATP-sensitive P2X3, capsaicin-sensitive TRPV1 receptors modulated by estradiol. Physically disconnected (dish-in-dish system; inner chamber enclosed) mouse DRG neurons were cultured for 12 hours near media alone (control 1), mouse DRG (control 2), human neuroblastoma SHSY-5Y cells (cancer intervention), or mouse DRG treated with KCl (apoptosis intervention). The local presence of apoptotic DRG neurons or human neuroblastoma cells induced differing abnormal ATP and capsaicin-mediated [Ca2+]i fluxes in normal DRG neurons. These findings support the concept of physically disconnected, non-diffusible cell-cell signaling. Further studies are underway to uncover the mechanisms by which cancer cells and dying cells may be able to communicate with other cells across physical barriers. The resulting new knowledge may lead to innovative treatments for cancer, aging and other chronic diseases.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Medical Education Building, Room 304
John A. Burns School of Medicine
For More Information: Pamela Bullard ( or 808-692-1475)

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