Miller, Kenneth E., Ph.D., CHS-Tulsa, OSU

Kenneth E. Miller, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of Anatomy and Cell BiologyImage result for Kenneth E. Miller okstate tulsa
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
College of Medicine 
Oklahoma State University- Tulsa
Contact Information:
Phone: 918-561-5817
Office: 1111 West 17th Street, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, OK 74107
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Research Interests: 
My research effort has focused on evaluating glutamate metabolism in spinal systems during injury, inflammatory, and pain conditions. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system, but the production and degradation of glutamate is poorly understood in the peripheral nervous system. My research has been carried out in three areas: 1. Primary sensory neurons under painful, inflammatory and neuropathic conditions. 2. Spinal processing of inflammatory nociceptive information from viscera and somatic structures. 3. Response of neurons to spinal injury and CNS inflammation. Pain is a debilitating complication of chronic inflammation and nerve injury and chronic pain is difficult to treat for long periods of time. We demonstrated that the glutamine cycle, a CNS enzyme system for production and degradation of glutamate, is present in the peripheral nervous system. We showed that chronic inflammation causes long-term increases in glutaminase and glutamate levels in primary sensory neurons and their peripheral nerve fibers. Increased glutamate production in peripheral nerve fibers is responsible, in part, for painful responses observed in chronic inflammations, such as rheumatoid arthritis. We determined that peripheral inhibition of glutaminase provides long-lasting pain relief in animals with chronic inflammation.