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Dr. Keith Thornbury

Position: Principal Investigator
Email: info@icbc.ie

Research Interests

Dr. Keith Thornbury I began to study smooth muscle electrophysiology during a sabbatical year in Kent Sanders' lab in Nevada in 1990-91. Since then, I have focussed on two main areas: lymphatic vessels and the lower urinary tract, including spontaneous pacemaking mechanisms and modulation of activity by autonomic neurotransmitters in these tissues. Experimental techniques include patchclamp of single cells, confocal imaging, and mechanical studies of whole tissue. We have identified pacemaker cells in the urethra which resemble the interstitial cells of Cajal in the gut. A major objective at present is to elucidate the pacemaker mechanisms in these cells and to determine their role in the regulation of urethral tone. I also study the corpus cavernosum with a view to understanding how penile erection and detumescence are regulated.

Selected Publications

  • McCloskey C, Cagney V, Large R, Hollywood M, Sergeant G, McHale N, Thornbury K (2009). Voltage-dependent Ca(2+) Currents Contribute to Spontaneous Ca(2+) Waves in Rabbit Corpus Cavernosum Myocytes. J Sex Med. 2009 Aug 17. Aug 17. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Sergeant GP, Craven M, Hollywood MA, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. (2009) Spontaneous Ca2+ waves in rabbit corpus cavernosum: modulation by nitric oxide and cGMP. J Sex Med. 6(4):958-66.
  • Sergeant GP, Bradley E, Thornbury KD, McHale NG, Hollywood MA (2008). Role of mitochondria in modulation of spontaneous Ca2+ waves in freshly dispersed interstitial cells of Cajal from the rabbit urethra. J Physiol. 586(Pt 19):4631-42.
  • Beckett EA, Hollywood MA, Thornbury KD, McHale NG. (2007). Spontaneous electrical activity in sheep mesenteric lymphatics. Lymphat Res Biol. 2007;5(1):29-43.
  • Sergeant GP, Johnston L, McHale NG, Thornbury KD, Hollywood MA. (2006). Activation of the cGMP/PKG pathway inhibits electrical activity in rabbit urethral interstitial cells of Cajal by reducing the spatial spread of Ca2+ waves. J Physiol. 2006 Jul 1;574(Pt 1):167-81.
  • Sergeant GP, Hollywood MA, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. (2006). Ca2+ signalling in urethral interstitial cells of Cajal. J Physiol. 576(Pt 3):715-20.
  • McHale NG, Hollywood MA, Sergeant GP, Shafei M, Thornbury KT, Ward SM. (2006). Organization and function of ICC in the urinary tract. J Physiol. 2006 Nov 1;576(Pt 3):689-94. Epub 2006 Aug 17.
  • Sergeant GP, Thornbury KD, McHale NG, Hollywood MA. (2006). Interstitial cells of Cajal in the urethra. J Cell Mol Med. 2006 Apr-Jun;10(2):280-91.
  • Bradley E, Hollywood MA, Johnston L, Large RJ, Matsuda T, Baba A, McHale NG, Thornbury KD, Sergeant GP. (2006). Contribution of reverse Na+-Ca2+ exchange to spontaneous activity in interstitial cells of Cajal in the rabbit urethra. J Physiol. 1;574(Pt 3):651-61
  • Sergeant GP, Johnston L, McHale NG, Thornbury KD, Hollywood MA. (2006). Activation of the cGMP/PKG pathway inhibits electrical activity in rabbit urethral interstitial cells of Cajal by reducing the spatial spread of Ca2+ waves. J Physiol. 2006 Jul 1;574(Pt 1):167-81.
  • McHale N, Hollywood M, Sergeant G, Thornbury K. (2006). Origin of spontaneous rhythmicity in smooth muscle. J Physiol. 2006 Jan 1;570(Pt 1):23-8.
  • Bradley E, Hollywood MA, McHale NG, Thornbury KD, Sergeant GP. (2005) Pacemaker activity in urethral interstitial cells is not dependent on capacitative calcium entry. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2005 Sep;289(3):C625-32.
  • Johnston L, Sergeant GP, Hollywood MA, Thornbury KD, McHale NG. (2005). Calcium oscillations in interstitial cells of the rabbit urethra. J Physiol. 2005 Jun 1;565(Pt 2):449-61.
  • Craven M, Sergeant GP, Hollywood MA, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. Modulation of spontaneous Ca2+-activated Cl- currents in the rabbit corpus cavernosum by the NO/cGMP pathway. J Physiol 556.2 (2004) pp 495–506.
  • Coates et al.. (2004).Ultra-sensitivity, speed and resolution: Optimizing low-light microscopy with the back-illuminated electron multiplying CCD. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 2004, (in press).
  • Bradley JE, Anderson UA, Woolsey SM, Thornbury KD, McHale NG, Hollywood MA. (2004). Characterisation of T-type calcium current and its contribution to electrical activity in the rabbit urethra. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol, May 2004; 286: C1078 - 1088.
  • Hollywood MA, Woolsey S, Walsh IK, Keane PF, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. (2003). T- and L-type Ca2+ currents in freshly dispersed smooth muscle cells from the human proximal urethra. J Physiol. 550(Pt 3):753-64.
  • Hollywood MA, Sergeant GP, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. Activation of Ca2+-activated C1-current by depolarizing steps in rabbit urethral interstitial cells. American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology 2003; 285: C327-C333.
  • McCloskey KD, Hollywood MA, Thornbury KD, Ward SM, McHale NG. Kit-like immunopositive cells in sheep mesenteric lymphatic vessels. Cell and Tissue Research 2002; 310: 77-84.
  • Sergeant GP, Thornbury KD, McHale NG, Hollywood MA. Characterization of norepinephrine-evoked inward currents in interstitial cells isolated from the rabbit urethra. American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology 2002; 283: C885-C894.
  • Sergeant GP, Hollywood MA, McCloskey KD, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. (2001). Role of IP3 in modulation of spontaneous activity in pacemaker cells of rabbit urethra. American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology 2001; 280: 1349-1356.
  • Sergeant GP, Hollywood MA, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. (2001). Spontaneous Ca2+ activated C1- currents in isolated urethral smooth muscle cells. Journal of Urology 2001: 1161-1166.
  • Toland HM, McCloskey KD, Thornbury KD, McHale NG, Hollywood MA. (2000). Ca2(+)-activated C1- current in sheep lymphatic smooth muscle. American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology 2000; 279: C1327-C1335.
  • Hollywood MA, McCloskey KD, McHale NG, Thornbury KD. (2000). Characterization of outward K+ currents in isolated smooth muscle cells from sheep urethra. American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology 2000; 279: 420-428.
  • Sergeant GP, Hollywood MA, McCloskey KD, Thornbury KD, McHale NG. (2000) Specialised pacemaking cells in the rabbit uretha. Journal of Physiology London 2000; 526: 359-366.

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