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Phillip J. Albrecht , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor


2001 - Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University

Current Research

Current research: Peripheral mechanisms of chronic pain; cutaneous innervation and target tissue interactions, as exemplified by epidermal nerve fiber/keratinocyte signaling and functions of vascular innervation. Other research interests: neurodermatology, role of inflamation in peripheral neuropathy, cytokines, growth factors, neural effector molecules, glial cells, and CNS scar formation. Summary: My research efforts are currently investigating peripheral mechanisms of chronic pain conditions. Utilizing cell culture, rodent models, and human tissue from several disease states, the lab performs extensive evaluations of cutaneous innervation and terminal target immunochemistry. Our overall research objective is directed at understanding how sensory and sympathetic innervation to the skin, coupled to their interactions with terminal target structures (epidermis, cutaneous vasculature, hair follicles, sweat glands), likely contributes significantly to normal function and can become chronically skewed in several painful human diseases, including complex regional pain syndrome, post-herpetic neuralgia, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, neurofibromatosis, diabetic and chemotherapeutic-induced neuropathy, migraine, and direct nerve injury from trauma or compression. Current research from our laboratory has indicated an extensive role of the epidermis and cutaneous vasculature in sensory transduction. We have demonstrated that epidermal keratinocytes express numerous neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, growth factors, cytokines, and their cognate receptors, and that these systems form a complex, integrated network of sensory signaling responsible for normal sensory perception. A major research effort is focused on understanding how the signaling mechanisms between keratinocytes and epidermal sensory fibers, and small fiber innervation interactions with dermal vasculature, underlies normal cutaneous sensation, and particularly how alterations of the signaling mechanisms can lead to the generation of pathologic intractable pain. Past research: Previous research interests focused on the effects of cytokine activation of astrocytes and glial scar formation, particularly the role of the Eph/efn tyrosine kinase family in mediating the interactions of astrocytes and meningeal fibroblasts at the CNS scar interface.


  1. Paré M, Albrecht PJ, Noto CJ, Bodkin NL, Pittenger GL, Schreyer DJ, Tigno XT, Hansen BC, Rice FL (2007). Differential hypertrophy and atrophy among all types of cutaneous innervation in the glabrous skin of the monkey hand during aging and naturally occurring type 2 diabetes. J Comp Neurol 501(4):543-67.

  2. Albrecht PJ, Hines S, Eisenberg E, Pud D, Finlay DR, Connolly MK, Paré M, Davar G, Rice FL (2006). Pathologic alterations of cutaneous innervation and vasculature in affected limbs from patients with complex regional pain syndrome. Pain 120: 244-266.

  3. Ibrahim MM, Porreca F, Lai J, Albrecht PJ, Rice FL, Khodorova A, Davar G, Makriyannis A, Vanderah TW, Mata HP, Malan TP Jr (2005). CB2 cannabinoid receptor activation produces antinociception by stimulating peripheral release of endogenous opioids. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102(8): 3093-3098.

  4. Liberto CM, Albrecht PJ, Herx LM, Yong VW, Levison SW (2004). Pro-regenerative properties of cytokine-activated astrocytes. J Neurochem 89(5): 1092-1100.

  5. Albrecht PJ, Murtie JC, Ness JK, Redwine JM, Enterline JR, Armstrong RC, Levison SW (2003). Astrocytes produce CNTF during the remyelination phase of viral-induced spinal cord demyelination to stimulate FGF-2 production. Neurobiol Dis 13(2):89-101.

  6. PJ Albrecht and FL Rice (2010). Role of small-fiber afferents in pain mechanisms with implications on diagnosis and treatment. Curr Pain Headache Rep 14(3):179-88.

  7. Opioids activate brain analgesic circuits through cytochrome P450/epoxygenase signaling. JL Conroy, C Fang, J Gu, SO Zeitlin, W Yang, J Yang, MA VanAlstine, JW Nalwalk, PJ Albrecht, JE Mazurkiewicz, A Snyder-Keller, Z Shan, SZ Zhang, MP Wentland, M Behr, BI Knapp, JM Bidlack, OP Zuiderveld, R Leurs, X Ding, and LB Hough Nat Neurosci, Mar 2010; 13(3): 284-6.

  8. Absence of pain with hyperhidrosis: a new syndrome where vascular afferents may mediate cutaneous sensation. D Bowsher, C Geoffrey Woods, AK Nicholas, OM Carvalho, CE Haggett, B Tedman, JM Mackenzie, D Crooks, N Mahmood, JA Twomey, S Hann, D Jones, JP Wymer, PJ Albrecht, CE Argoff, and FL Rice Pain, Dec 2009; 147(1-3): 287-98.

  9. Voltage-gated sodium channel expression in rat and human epidermal keratinocytes: evidence for a role in pain. P Zhao, TP Barr, Q Hou, SD Dib-Hajj, JA Black, PJ Albrecht, K Petersen, E Eisenberg, JP Wymer, FL Rice, and SG Waxman Pain, Sep 2008; 139(1): 90-105.