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Martin J. Pinter

Professor of Physiology

Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, 1979

Research Interests:

A major focus in this laboratory is motor neuron disease. Studies of an inherited version of motor neuron disease are being performed to determine mechanisms underlying weakness and loss of motor unit function. Evidence gathered thus far indicates that loss of motor unit function occurs well before cell death, axonal degeneration and even motor terminal degeneration. Recent studies indicate that motor unit dysfunction is related to a reduced availability of releasable synaptic quanta at motor terminals. This is accompanied by normal levels of immunostaining for several integral synaptic membrane proteins. This line of enquiry will be extended to other models of motor neuron disease. Other efforts concern how motor neurons and muscle fibers communicate to determine the functional phenotype of spinal motor neurons. Current ideas being tested include the effects of activity and the role of the neuromuscular junction. In collaboration with Dr. Mark Rich (PI), another laboratory focus is muscle fiber excitability mechanisms in health and in disease. Methods used include: Intracellular recording/labeling of motor neurons/motor axons. Motor unit force and EMG recording; Immunolabeling and imaging of motor neurons, motor axons, neuromuscular junctions and muscle; Vital microscopy of neuromuscular junctions and muscle fibers; Voltage clamp and loose patch recording from muscle fibers; Mathematical modeling of action potential generation in muscle.

Publications:  PubMed search

Department of Physiology
Emory University School of Medicine
615 Michael Street
Atlanta, GA 30322-3110
Office: 404--727-3472

Email Address:  mpinter@physio.emory.edu