- Associate Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery
- (608) 265-6516
Ph.D. University of Arizona, Tucson
Understanding pathology and developing treatment for communication, swallowing, and ingestive function disorders in neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson disease
Historically, movement neuroscience and medical interventions have focused on the limb and largely ignored voice and swallowing deficits associated with central nervous system diseases. My work focuses on how targeted therapies, or exercise, influences behavior and the neurobiological processes underlying recovery from deficits in the cranial sensorimotor system. The goals of my research are to develop appropriate behavioral treatment strategies unique to speech and swallowing disorders considering the influence of pharmacological and surgical management. I hope that understanding these differences will lead to better treatments and functional outcomes for patients with neurologic disorders.
Dysarthria (disordered speech), dysphonia (disordered voice) and oropharyngeal dysphagia (disordered swallowing) are prevalent in idiopathic Parkinson disease and are largely unresponsive to pharmacological and surgical interventions. Thus, it is unclear if these cranial motor deficits are related to the primary disease pathology of Parkinson disease (nigrostriatal dopaminergic cell degeneration). Interestingly behavioral/exercise intervention improves cranial and limb deficits. However, we do not know if the mechanism of recovery is the same these two distinct sensorimotor systems. Since human vocal production and swallowing arise from the complex interaction of multiple brain and body systems, investigation of underlying physiopathy is challenging. As such, we employ a rat model to address these gaps in knowledge.
My work examines the impact of early sensorimotor training that targets vocalization complexity and tongue force generation on biological markers of striatal function (e.g., dopamine sparing, recovery of dopaminergic neurons) and behavioral outcomes in a rat neurotoxin and rat and mouse transgenic models of Parkinson disease. Additionally, this research addresses fundamental questions regarding the nature of vocalization and swallowing deficits and the potential mechanisms underlying recovery as a result of targeted exercise intervention.
Pultorak JD, Kelm-Nelson CA, Holt LR, Blue KV, Ciucci MR, Johnson AM. Decreased approach behavior in response to Parkinsonian ultrasonic vocalizations in rats. Social Neuroscience, in press.
- Jones CA, Ciucci MR, Hammer MJ, McCulloch TM. A multisensor approach to improve manometric analysis of the upper esophageal sphincter. Laryngoscope, in press.
- Grant LM, Kelm-Nelson CA, Hilby BL, Blue KV, Paul Rajamanickam ES, Pultorak JD, Fleming SM, Ciucci MR. Evidence for early and progressive ultrasonic vocalization and oromotor deficits in a PINK1 gene knockout rat model of Parkinson's disease. J Neurosci Res, in press.
- Grant LM, Barnett DG, Doll, EJ, Leverson G, Ciucci, MR. Relationships among rat ultrasonic vocalizations, behavioral measures of striatal dopamine loss, and striatal tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreacticvity at acute and chronic time points following unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine-induced dopamine depletion. Behavioral Brain Res. 2015 Sept. 15; 291:361-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.05.042. Epub 2015 May 27.
Grant LM, Richter FR, Miller JE, White SA, Fox CM, Zhu C, Chesselet MF, Ciucci MR. Vocalization deficits in mice over-expressing alpha-synuclein, a model of pre-manifest Parkinson’s disease. Behavioral Neuroscience. 2014, April; 128(2):110-21. doi: 10.1037/a0035965.
Ciucci MR, Grant LM, Rajamanickam ES, Hilby BL, Blue KV, Jones CA, Kelm-Nelson CA. Early identification and treatment of communication and swallowing deficits in Parkinson disease. Semin Speech Lang. 2013 Aug;34(3):185-202. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1358367. Epub 2013 Oct 28. PMID: 24166192 [PubMed - in process]
Gombash SE, Manfredsson FP, Kemp CJ, Kuhn NC, Fleming SM, Egan AE, Grant LM, Ciucci MR, MacKeigan JP, Sortwell CE. Morphological and behavioral impact of AAV2/5-mediated overexpression of human wildtype alpha-synuclein in the rat nigrostriatal system. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 27;8(11):e81426. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081426. eCollection 2013. PMID:24312298
[PubMed - in process]
Ringel LM, Basken JN, Grant LM, Ciucci MR. Dopamine D1 and D2 receptor antagonis effects on rat ultrasonic vocalizations. Behavioral Brain Research, in press.
- Ciucci MR, Schaser AM, Russell JA. Exercise-induced rescue of tongue function without striatal dopamine sparing in a rat neurotoxin model of Parkinson disease. Behavioural Brain Research, in press.
- Johnson AM, Ciucci MR, Connor NP. Vocal training mitigates age-related changes within the vocal mechanism in old rat. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, in press.
- Russell JA, Ciucci MR, Hammer MJ, Connor NP. Videofluorographic assessment of rodent swallow in aging and Parkinson disease. Dysphagia, 2013 Mar Mar;28(1):95-104.
- Basken JN, Connor NP, Ciucci MR. The effects of aging on ultrasonic vocalizations and laryngeal sensorimotor neurons in rats. Experimental Brain Research, 2012 Jun;219(3):351-61
- Mielens JD, Hoffman MR, Ciucci MR, McCulloch TM, Jiang, JJ. Application of pattern recognition techniques to pharyngeal high-resolution manometry. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 2012 Jun;55(3):892-902. PMCID: PMC3501389
- Johnson AM, Doll EJ, Grant LM, Ringel L, Shier JN, Ciucci MR. Targeted training of ultrasonic vocalizations in aged and parkinsonian rats. J Vis Exp. 2011;54. doi:10.3791/2835
- McCulloch TM, VanDale DJ, Ciucci MR. Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery: An integrative view of the larynx. Head & Neck, 2011 Oct;33 Suppl 1:S46-53. NIHMS35202
- Ciucci MR, Russell JA, Schaser AM, Doll EJ, Vinney L, Connor NP. Tongue force and timing deficits in a rat model of Parkinson disease. Behav Brain Res. 2011 Sep 23;222(2):315-20. PMCID: PMC3113690
- Mielens JD, Hoffman MR, Ciucci MR, Jiang JJ, McCulloch TM. Automated analysis of pressure data using high resolution manometry. Dysphagia. 2011 Mar;26(1):3-12
- Johnson AM, Ciucci MR, Russell JA, Hammer MJ, Connor NP. Ultrasonic acoustic output from the excised rat larynx. J Acoust Soc Am. 2010;128:EL75-EL79. PMC212991 PMCID: PMC2924901
- McCulloch TM, Hoffman MR, Ciucci MR. High resolution manometry of pharyngeal swallow pressure events associated with head turn and chin tuck. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2010 Jun;119(6):369-76. PMID: 20583734 PMCID: PMC3045033
- Ciucci MR, Connor NP. Dopaminergic influence on rat tongue function and limb movement. Experimental Brain Research. 2009 Apr;194(4):587-96. PMC: 19247644 PMCID: PMC2737720
- Ciucci MR, Ahrens AM, Ma ST, Kane J, Cormack L, Schallert T. Reduction of dopamine synaptic activity: Degradation of 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalization in rats. Behav Neurosci. 2009 Apr;123(2):328-36. PMID: 19331456 PMCID: PMC2737695
- Ciucci MR, Barkmeier-Kraemer J, Sherman S. Subthalamic nucleus stimulation improves deglutition in individuals with Parkinson Disease. Mov Disord. 2008 Apr 15;23(5):676-83. PMID: 1816345