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Panayotis (Peter) K. Thanos

Behavioral Pharmacology & Neuroimaging

See Also:
Thanos Lab and RCIBI- Behavioral Pharmacology & Neuroimaging

Research Interests

  • CNS mechanisms of addiction including alcohol, drugs and obesity.
  • In-Vivo Imaging: MicroPET, MicroMRI , MicroCT, MRI, PET.
  • In-Vitro Imaging: Autoradiography (Beta-Imager).
  • Gene therapy techniques in preclinical models of addiction.
  • Behavioral Neuropharmacology of dopamine. ADHD behavioral genetics.
  • ADHD behavioral genetics.
  • CNS mechanisms of stress and depression Neuronal injury, regeneration, growth factors.
  • Neuronal injury, regeneration, growth factors.
  • Our laboratory's main areas of interest are geared towards better understanding the mechanisms of addiction, including: alcohol, drug abuse and obesity. Understanding these mechanisms will help us develop better therapeutic tools for addictive disorders that amount to billions of dollars per year in health costs and lost productivity. Based on previous findings at BNL, we focused on the role of the dopamine D2 family of receptors (D2, D3 and D4) in alcohol abuse, by training animals to drink alcohol. Once the animals were trained and displayed a clear preference for ethanol versus water, a viral vector carrying the D2cDNA was strereotaxically microinfused into the brain. This resulted in a significant decrease in alcohol intake to half the initial levels (Thanos et al. 2001). These findings provided evidence that overexpression of D2 receptors reduced alcohol intake, and suggested that high levels of D2 receptors may be protective against alcohol abuse (Thanos et al., 2001). These results were recently supported in Inbred strains of alcohol preferring (P) rats (Thanos et al. 2004) and in D2R transgenic mice (Thanos et al 2004b). Current research is utilizing various techniques (microPET brain imaging, autoradiography, immunohistochemistry, gene transfer vectors, microdialysis, microMRI and microCT and transgenic mouse models) to better study the neurochemistry, genetics and behavioral aspects of addiction. Ongoing studies will help further elucidate the complex role of the D2 family of receptors in alcoholism, drug abuse and obesity. (Figure 1)

Recent News

Selected Publications

  • Thanos P.K., Bermeo C., Wang G.-J., and Volkow N.D.
    D-Cycloserine Facilitates Extinction of Cocaine Self-Administration in Rats.
    Synapse, doi: 10.1002/syn.20922. (2011)[Epub ahead of print].  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Cho J., Kim R., Michaelides M., Primeaux S., Bray G., Wang G.-J., and Volkow, N.D.
    Bromocriptine increased operant responding for high fat food but decreased chow intake in both obesity-prone and resistant rats.
    Behav Brain Res., 217(1):165-170 (2011).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Kim R., Cho J., Michaelides M., Anderson B.J., Primeaux S.D., Bray G.A., Wang G.-J., Robinson J.K., and Volkow N.D.
    Obesity-resistant S5B rats showed great cocaine conditioned place preference than the obesity-prone OM rats.
    Physiology and Behavior., 101:713-718 (2011).
  • Thanos P.K., Gopez V., Delis F., Michaelides M., Grand D.K., Wang G.-J., Kunos G., and Volkow N.D.
    Upregulation of Cannabinoid Type 1 Receptors in Dopamine D2 Receptor Knockout Mice Is Reversed by Chronic Forced Ethanol Consumption.
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res., 35(1):19-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01318.x. (2011).  PubMed
  • Pfaffly J., Michaelides M., Wang G.-J., Pessin J.E., Volkow N.D., and Thanos P.K.
    Leptin Increases Striatal Dopamine D2 Receptor Binding in Leptin-Deficient Obese (ob/ob) Mice.
    Synapse, 64(7):503-510 (2010).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K.
    Dissociation between spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats in baseline performance and methylphenidate response on measures of attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity in a Visual Stimulus Position Discrimination Task.
    Pharmacol Biochem Behav., 94(3):374-379 (2010).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Bermeo C., Rubinstein M., Suchland K.L., Wang G.-J., Grandy D.K., and Volkow N.D.
    Conditioned place preference and locomotor activity in response to methylphenidate, amphetamine and cocaine in mice lacking dopamine D4 receptors.
    J Psychopharmacol., 24(6):897-904 (2010).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Habibi R., Michaelides M., Patel U.B., Suchland K., Anderson B.J., Robinson J.K., Wang G.J., Grandy D.K., and Volkow N.D.
    Dopamine D4 receptor (D4R) deletion in mice does not affect operant responding for food or cocaine.
    Behav Brain Res., 207(2):508-511 (2010).   PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Tucci A., Stamos J., Robison L., Wang G.-J., Anderson B.J., and Volkow N.D.
    Chronic Forced Exercise Decreased Cocaine Conditioned Place Preference in Adolescent Male but not Female Lewis Rats.
    Behav Brain Res., 215(1):77-82. (2010). PubMed
  • Volkow N.D., Fowler J.S., Wang G.-J., Shumay E., Telang F., Thanos P., and Alexoff D.
    Distribution and pharmacokinetics of methamphetamine in the human body: clinical implications.
    PLOS ONE, 5(12):e15269 (2010).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Michaelides M., Benveniste H., et al.
    The effects of cocaine on regional brain glucose metabolism is attenuated in dopamine transporter knockout mice.
    Synapse, 62:319-324 (2008).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Michaelides M., Ho C.W., Wang G.J., Newman A.H., Heidbreder C.A., Ashby C.R. Jr., Gardner E.L. and Volkow N.D.
    The effects of two highly selectrive dopamine D3 receptor antagonists (SB-277011A and NGB-2904) on food self-administration in a rodent model of obesity.
    Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 89(4):499-507 (2008).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Michaelides M., Piyis Y.K., Wang G.J. and Volkow N.D.
    Food resriction markedly increases dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) in a rat model of obesity as assessed with in-vivo muPET imaging ([(11)C] raclopride) and in-vitro ([(3)H] spiperone) autoradiography.
    Synapse, 62(1):50-61 (2008).  Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Michaelides M., Umegaki H. and Volkow N.D.
    D2R DNA transfer into the nucleus accumbens attenuates cocain self-administration in rats.
    Synapse, 62:481-486 (2008).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Ramalhete R.C., Michaelides M., Piyis Y.K., Wang G.J. and Volkow N.D.
    Leptin receptor deficiency is associated with upregulation of cannabinoid 1 receptors in limbic brain regions.
    Synapse, 62(9):637-642 (2008).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K., Michaelides M., Benveniste H., Wang G.J. and Volkow N.D.
    Effects of chronic oral methylphenidate on cocaine self-administration and striatal dopamine D2 receptors in rodents.
    Pharmacol Biochem Behav., 87(4):426-433 (2007).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Rodriguez-Gomez J.A., Lu J.Q., Velasco I., Rivera S., Zoghbi S.S., Liow J.S., Musachio J.L., Chin F.T., Toyama H., Seidel J., Green M.V., Thanos P.K., Ichise M., Pike V.W., Innis R.B. and McKay R.D.
    Persistent dopamine functions of neurons derived from embryonic stem cells in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease.
    Stem Cells, 25(4):918-928 (2007).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Rice O., Saintvictor S., Michaelides M., Panayotis K., Thanos P., Samuel J. and Gatley S.J.
    MicroPET Investigation of Chronic Long-Term Neurotoxicity from Heavy Ion Irradiation.
    AAPS Journal, 8(3):E508-14 (2006).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Volkow N.D., Wang G.J., Begleiter H., Porjesz B., Fowler J.S., Telang F., Wong C., Ma Y., Logan J., Goldstein R., Alexoff D. and Thanos P.K.
    High levels of dopamine D2 receptors in unaffected members of alcoholic families: possible protective factors.
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, 63(9):999-1008 (2006).  PubMed
  • Volkow N.D., Wang G.-J., Franceschi D., Fowler J.S., Thanos P.K., Maynard L., Gatley J.S., Wong C., Veech R.L., Kunos G. and Li T.-K.
    Low Doses of Alcohol Substantially Decrease Glucose Metabolism in the Human Brain.
    Neuroimage, 29(1):295–301 (2006).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Wang G.J., Yang J., Volkow N.D., Telang F., Ma Y., Zhu W., Wong C.T., Tomasi D., Thanos P.K. and Fowler J.S.
    Gastric stimulation in obese subjects activates the hippocampus and other regions involved in brain reward circuitry.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.,103(42):15641-15645 (2006).  PubMed
  •  Heidbreder C.A., Gardner E.L., Xi Z.-X., Thanos P.K., Mugnaini M., Hagan J.J. and Ashby C.R. Jr.
    The role of central dopamine D3 receptors in drug addiction: a review of pharmacological evidence.
    Brain Research Reviews, 49(1):77-105 (2005).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K, Elias S. Dimitrakakis, Rice O., Gifford A. and Volkow N.D.
    Ethanol self-administration and ethanol conditioned place preference are reduced in mice lacking cannabinoid CB1 receptors.
    Behavioral Brain Research, 164(2):206–213 (2005).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Katana J.M., Ashby C.R. Jr., Michaelides M., Gardner E.L., Heidbreder C.A. and Volkow N.D.
    The selective dopamine D3 receptor antagonist SB-277011-A attenuates ethanol consumption in ethanol preferring (P) and non-preferring (NP) rats.
    Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 81(1):190–197 (2005).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K.,T, Rivera S.N., Weaver K., Grandy D.K., Rubinstein M., Umegaki H., Wang G.-J., Hitzemann R. and Volkow N.D.
    Dopamine D2R DNA transfer in dopamine D2 receptor-deficient mice: Effects on ethanol drinking.
    Life Sciences, 77(2):130-139 (2005).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Ding Y.S., Gatley S.J., Thanos P.K., Shea C., Garza V., Xu Y., Carter P., King P., Warner D., Taintor N.B., Park D.J., Pyatt B., Fowler J.S. and Volkow N.D.
    Brain kinetics of methylphenidate (Ritalin) enantiomers after oraladministration.
    Synapse, 53(3):168-175 (2004).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Heidbreder C.A., Andreoli M., Marcon C., Thanos P.K., Ashby C.R. Jr and Gardner E.L.
    Role of dopamine D3 receptors in the addictive properties of ethanol.
    Drugs Today (Barc). 40(4):355-365 (2004).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Taintor N.B., Rivera S.N., Umegaki H., Ikari H., Roth G., Ingram D.K.,Hitzemann R., Fowler J.S., Gatley S.J., Wang G.J. and Volkow N.D.
    DRD2 gene transfer into the nucleus accumbens core of the alcohol preferring and nonpreferring rats attenuates alcohol drinking.
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res., 28(5):720-728 (2004).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Wang G.J., Volkow N.D., Thanos P.K. and Fowler J.S.
    Similarity between obesity and drug addiction as assessed by neurofunctional imaging: a concept review.
    J. Addict. Dis., 23(3):39-53 (2004).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Alexoff D.L., Vaska P., Marsteller D., Gerasimov T., Li J., Logan J., Fowler J.S.,Taintor N.B., Thanos P.K. and Volkow N.D.
    Reproducibility of 11C-raclopride binding in the rat brain measured with the microPET R4: effects of scatter correction and tracer specific activity.
    J Nucl Med., 44(5):815-822 (2003).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Hitzemann R., Hitzemann B., Rivera S., Gatley J., Thanos P., Shou L.L. and Williams R.W.
    Dopamine D2 receptor binding, Drd2 expression and the number of dopamine neurons in the BXD recombinant inbred series: genetic relationships to alcohol and other drug associated phenotypes.
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res., 27(1):1-11 (2003).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Taintor N.B., Alexoff D., Vaska P., Logan J., Grandy D.K., Fang Y., Lee J.H., Fowler J.S., Volkow N.D. and Rubinstein M.
    In vivo comparative imaging of dopamine D2 knockout and wild-type mice with(11)C-raclopride and microPET.
    J. Nucl. Med., 43(11):1570-1577 (2002). Erratum in: J Nucl Med, 44(1):76 (2003).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Volkow N.D., Wang G.J., Fowler J.S., Thanos P.K., Logan J., Gatley S.J., Gifford A., Ding Y.S., Wong C., Pappas N.and Thanos P.
    Brain DA D2 receptors predict reinforcing effects of stimulants in humans: replication study.
    Synapse, 46(2):79-82 (2002). Erratum in: Synapse, 15;47(4):295 (2003). Thanos Pether [corrected to Thanos Panayotis Peter K].  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Tiangco D.A. and Terzis J.K.
    Enhanced reinnervation of the paralyzed orbicularis oculi muscle after insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) delivery to a nerve graft.
    J. Reconstr. Microsurg., 17(5):357-362 (2001).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Volkow N.D., Freimuth P., Umegaki H., Ikari H., Roth G., Ingram D.K. and Hitzemann R.
    Overexpression of dopamine D2 receptors reduces alcohol self-administration.
    J. Neurochem., 78(5):1094-1103 (2001).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Volkow N.D., Wang G.J., Fowler J.S., Franceschi D., Thanos P.K., Wong C., Gatley S.J.,Ding Y.S., Molina P., Schlyer D., Alexoff D., Hitzemann R. and Pappas N.
    Cocaine abusers show a blunted response to alcohol intoxication in limbic brain regions.
    Life Sci., 66(12):PL161-167 (2000).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Wang G.J., Volkow N.D., Franceschi D., Fowler J.S., Thanos P.K., Scherbaum N., Pappas N., Wong C.T., Hitzemann R.J. and Felder C.A.
    Regional brain metabolism during alcohol intoxication.
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res., 24(6):822-829 (2000).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Okajima S. and Terzis J.K.
    Ultrastructure and cellular biology of nerve regeneration.
    J. Reconstr. Microsurg., 14(6):423-436 (1998).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K. and Slotnick B.M.
    Short-term odor memory: effects of posterior transection of the lateral olfactory tract in the rat.
    Physiol. Behav., 61(6):903-906 (1997).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Terzis J.K., Sun D.D. and Thanos P.K.
    Historical and basic science review: past, present, and future of nerve repair.
    J. Reconstr. Microsurg., 13(3):215-225 (1997).  PubMed
  • Thanos P.K. and Terzis J.K.
    A histomorphometric analysis of the cross-facial nerve graft in the treatment of facial paralysis.
    J. Reconstr. Microsurg., 12(6):375-382 (1996).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K. and Terzis J.K.
    Motor endplate analysis of the denervated and reinnervated orbicularis oculi muscle in the rat.
    J. Reconstr. Microsurg., 11(6):423-428 (1995).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.
  • Thanos P.K., Jhamandas K. and Beninger R.J.
    N-methyl-D-aspartate unilaterally injected into the dorsal striatum of rats produces contralateral circling: antagonism by 2-amino-7-phosphonoheptanoic acid and cis-flupenthixol.
    Brain Res., 589(1):55-61 (1992).  PubMed or Full Text .pdf file.