Teresa Pitts

Teresa Pitts
University of Louisville | UL · Department of Neurological Surgery | Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center | Director of Research for Division of Comm Disorders | Endowed Chair in Neurological Surgery

PhD

About

136
Publications
20,445
Reads
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1,604
Citations
Introduction
Teresa Pitts currently works in the Departments of Neurological Surgery | Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center | Division of Comm Disorders| University of Louisville. @tpittslab on twitter For more information please see teresapitts.com
Additional affiliations
December 2020 - December 2020
University of Louisville
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Member of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center; Director of Research for the Division of Communication Disorders
January 2015 - December 2020
University of Louisville
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center
May 2010 - December 2014
University of Florida
Position
  • Post doctoral Fellow/Assistant Research Professor
Education
January 2007 - May 2010
University of Florida
Field of study
  • Speech Pathology
May 2004 - August 2006
University of Central Florida
Field of study
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders (Speech-Language Pathology)

Publications

Publications (136)
Preprint
Full-text available
Proper function of the larynx is vital to airway protection, including swallow. While the swallow reflex is controlled by the brainstem, patients with cervical spinal cord injuries (cSCI) are likely at increased risk of disordered swallow (dysphagia) and pneumonia, and the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We aimed to determine if acute spinal cor...
Article
Full-text available
Swallow is a primitive behavior regulated by medullary networks, responsible for movement of food/liquid from the oral cavity to the esophagus. To investigate how functionally heterogeneous networks along the medullary intermediate reticular formation (IRt) and ventral respiratory column (VRC) control swallow, we electrically stimulated the nucleus...
Article
Full-text available
Afferent feedback can appreciably alter the pharyngeal phase of swallow. In order to measure the stability of the swallow motor pattern during several types of alterations in afferent feedback, we assessed swallow during a conventional water challenge in four anesthetized cats, and compared that to swallows induced by fixed (20 Hz) and stochastic (...
Article
The coordination of swallowing with breathing, in particular inspiration, is essential for homeostasis in most organisms. While much has been learned about the neuronal network critical for inspiration in mammals, the pre–Bötzinger complex (preBötC), little is known about how this network interacts with swallowing. Here we activate within the preBö...
Article
Full-text available
Laryngeal function is vital to airway protection. While swallow is mediated by the brainstem, mechanisms underlying increased risk of dysphagia after cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) are unknown. We hypothesized that loss of descending phrenic drive affects swallow and breathing differently, and loss of ascending spinal afferent information alters...
Article
BackgroundX-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM) is a life-threatening congenital myopathy that, in most cases, is characterized by profound muscle weakness, respiratory failure, need for mechanical ventilation and gastrostomy feeding, and early death.Objective We aimed to characterize the neuromuscular, respiratory, and extramuscular burden of XLMTM...
Article
Opioid exposure during gestation can lead to neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) at birth. A feature of NOWS is dysphagia. To better understand the contribution of dysregulated central control to dysphagia in NOWs infants, we compared fictive swallow in neonate (P2-P6) control mice and mice exposed to methadone from E14.5 onwards. Propriobul...
Article
Opioid use is associated with increased risk of chest infection due to opioid suppression of immune function, ventilation, cough, and secretion mobilization. Buprenorphine is a highly lipophilic, semi-synthetic partial agonist of the mu opioid receptor. Intramuscular buprenorphine is commonly used for post-operative analgesia at a dose range of 0.0...
Article
Swallow is a critical behavior for sustaining life, important for both for the ingestion of nutrients and for protecting the airways. To produce an effective swallow, neural circuits must coordinate over 20 muscles across multiple cranial/spinal nerves to produce a rostral-caudal pressure gradient to move the bolus from the mouth to the stomach. Th...
Article
Airway protection is maintained through a constellation of behaviors. The laryngeal adductor reflex (LAR) responds to mechanical or chemical stimulation of the laryngeal orifice with rapid adduction of the vocal folds. While there are abundant serotonin receptors on laryngeal motoneurons, the effects of serotonin agents on the LAR have not been inv...
Article
We employed computational modeling to investigate previously conducted experiments of the effect of vagal afferent modulation on the cough reflex in an anesthetized cat animal model. Specifically, we simulated unilateral cooling of the vagus nerve and analyzed characteristics of coughs produced by a computational model of brainstem cough/respirator...
Article
Brainstem respiratory neuronal network significantly contributes to cough motor pattern generation. Neuronal populations in the pre-Bötzinger complex (PreBötC) represent a substantial component for respiratory rhythmogenesis. We studied the role of PreBötC neuronal excitation and inhibition on mechanically induced tracheobronchial cough in 15 spont...
Article
Full-text available
Due to advances in technology, the number of users with hearing devices has increased. These users are often mainstreamed into classrooms with typical hearing peers. However, even with these devices, speech and language impairments may still persist. This study was conducted to analyze school-based speech- language pathologists’ (SLP) comfort, conf...
Article
Full-text available
The role of the cerebellum in controlling the cough motor pattern is not well understood. We hypothesized that cerebellectomy would disinhibit motor drive to respiratory muscles during cough. Cough was induced by mechanical stimulation of the tracheobronchial airways in anesthetized, spontaneously breathing adult cats (8 male, 1 female), and electr...
Article
Full-text available
Swallow is a complex behavior that consists of three coordinated phases: oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal. Esophageal distension (EDist) has been shown to elicit pharyngeal swallow, but the physiologic characteristics of EDist-induced pharyngeal swallow have not been specifically described. We examined the effect of rapid EDist on oropharyngeal swa...
Article
Full-text available
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that consists of difficulties with social communication and language, as well as the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors. These deficits tend to present in early childhood and usually lead to impairments in functioning across various settings. Moreover, these defic...
Article
Full-text available
Muscle injury is a frequent side effect of radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. To understand the pathophysiology of injury-related dysfunction, we investigated the effects of a single muscle injury to the mylohyoid on oropharyngeal swallowing function in the rat. The mylohyoid protects the airway from food/liquid via hyolaryngeal elevatio...
Article
The study investigates the effects of 6 occlusion conditions on the mechanically induced cough reflex in 15 anesthetized (pentobarbital) spontaneously breathing cats (14♂, 1♀). Esophageal pressure and integrated EMG activities of inspiratory (I) diaphragm and expiratory (E) abdominal muscles were recorded and analyzed. Occlusions: inspiratory (Io),...
Article
Full-text available
Lung volume is modulated by sensory afferent feedback via vagal and spinal pathways. The purpose of this study was to systematically alter afferent feedback with and without a mechanical challenge (chest compression). We hypothesized that manipulation of afferent feedback by nebulization of lidocaine, extra-thoracic vagotomy, or lidocaine administr...
Article
Full-text available
Swallow-breathing coordination is influenced by changes in lung volume, which is modulated by feedback from both vagal and spinal sensory afferents. The purpose of this study was to manipulate feedback from these afferents, with and without a simultaneous mechanical challenge (chest compression), in order to assess the influence of each sensory pat...
Article
We studied the effects of GABA receptor agonists microinjections in medullary raphé on the mechanically induced tracheobronchial cough response in anesthetized, unparalyzed, spontaneously breathing cats. The results suggest that GABA-ergic inhibition significantly contributes to the regulation of cough reflex by action of both GABAA and GABAB recep...
Preprint
Muscle injury is a frequent side effect of radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. To understand the pathophysiology of injury-related dysfunction, we investigated the effects of a single muscle injury to the mylohyoid on oropharyngeal swallowing function in the rat. The mylohyoid protects the airway from food/liquid via hyolaryngeal elevatio...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose While factors leading to hypoventilation have been well studied in Pompe disease, cough effectiveness and airway clearance practices are less understood. We aimed to identify significant factors that influence peak cough flow (PCF) in Pompe, and to detect whether pulmonary hygiene practices were reflective of reduced PCF. Methods This is a...
Article
Full-text available
Anatomical connections are reported between the cerebellum and brainstem nuclei involved in swallow such as the nucleus tractus solitarius, nucleus ambiguus, and Kölliker-fuse nuclei. Despite these connections, a functional role of the cerebellum during swallow has not been elucidated. Therefore, we examined the effects of cerebellectomy on swallow...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Airway protective behaviors, like cough and swallow, deteriorate in many populations suffering from neurologic disorders. While coordination of these behaviors has been investigated in an animal model, it has not been tested in humans. Methods: We used a novel protocol, adapted from previous work in the cat, to assess cough and swallow...
Article
Full-text available
Active contraction of the diaphragm and other inspiratory pump muscles during swallow create a negative thoracic pressure to improve the movement of the bolus (food/liquid) into the esophagus. We tested the hypothesis that dorsomedial medullary inspiratory neurons, including the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS, pre-motor to the phrenic) would be ac...
Data
NC3Rs ARRIVE guidelines checklist. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder whose symptoms may involve deficits across three domains: communication, socialization and atypical behaviors or interests. With a high prevalence across populations and a tendency to impact males more than females, early and accurate diagnosis appears critical. The most...
Article
Full-text available
Swallow-breathing coordination safeguards the lower airways from tracheal aspiration of bolus material as it moves through the pharynx into the esophagus. Impaired movements of the shared muscles or structures of the aerodigestive tract, or disruptions in the interaction of brainstem swallow and respiratory central pattern generators (CPGs) result...
Article
Swallow and breathing are highly coordinated behaviors reliant on shared anatomical space and neural pathways. Incremental ascent to high altitudes results in hypoxia/hypocapnic conditions altering respiratory drive, however it is not known whether these changes also alter swallow. We examined the effect of incremental ascent (1045m, 3440m and 4371...
Article
GABA, muscimol, and baclofen were microinjected into the rostral (rNTS) and caudal solitary tract nucleus (cNTS) in 24 anesthetized cats. Electromyograms (EMGs) of diaphragm (DIA) and abdominal muscles (ABD), blood pressure and esophageal pressure (EP) were recorded and analysed. Bilateral microinjections of 1 mM GABA (total 66 ± 4 nl), 1 mM baclof...
Article
Full-text available
Rehabilitation of cough is now moving under the purview of speech-language pathology as our understanding of the relationship between disorders of cough and swallow increases. The purpose of this review is to provide a guide in understanding the mechanisms of weak or disordered cough in Parkinson's disease, and mechanisms for why expiratory muscle...
Article
The importance of neurons in the solitary tract nucleus (NTS) in the production of coughing was tested by microinjections of the non-specific glutamate receptor antagonist kynurenic acid (kyn; 100 mM in artificial cerebrospinal fluid) in 15 adult spontaneously breathing anesthetized cats. Repetitive coughing was elicited by mechanical stimulation o...
Article
Full-text available
The modulation of mechanically induced tracheobronchial cough was tested by applying various stimuli and the elicitation of other airway protective behaviors in pentobarbital anesthetized cats. Capsaicin and histamine were injected in the nose, and mechanical nylon fiber and / or air puff stimulation was applied to the nose and nasopharynx. Reflex...
Article
We investigated the hypothesis, motivated in part by a coordinated computational cough network model, that second-order neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) act as a filter that shapes afferent input to the ventral respiratory network (VRC) during the production of cough. In vivo experiments were conducted on anesthetized spontaneously b...
Article
Full-text available
Oncologic treatments, such as curative radiotherapy and chemoradiation, for head and neck cancer can cause long-term swallowing impairments (dysphagia) that negatively impact quality of life. Radiation-induced dysphagia comprised a broad spectrum of structural, mechanical, and neurologic deficits. An understanding of the biomolecular effects of rad...
Article
The effect of volume-related feedback and output airflow resistance on the cough motor pattern was studied in 17 pentobarbital anesthetized spontaneously-breathing cats. Lung inflation during tracheobronchial cough was ventilator controlled and triggered by the diaphragm electromyographic (EMG) signal. Altered lung inflations during cough resulted...
Article
The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of a full-scale investigation of the neurophysiological mechanisms of COPD-induced respiratory neuromuscular control deficits. Characterization of respiratory single- and multi-muscle activation patterns using surface electromyography (sEMG) were assessed along with functional measures at b...
Article
Full-text available
Muscular tone of the abdominal wall is important in maintaining transdiaphragmatic pressures and its loss can lead to decreased lung volumes. Patients who are status postlaparotomy are at risk of developing atelectasis. The compensatory role of respiratory muscle activity in postlaparotomy is not well studied. Normally, inspiratory muscles are acti...