Alan F. Sved, PhD

  • Professor, Neuroscience


Education & Training

PhD, MIT (1980)

Campus Address

458 Langley Hall

One-Line Research Description

Central control of autonomic nervous system and cardiovascular function; neurobiology of nicotine pharmacology.

Research being conducted in Professor Sved's laboratory is focused on three distinct themes: the central neural control of cardiovascular function and fluid homeostasis, particularly as it relates to the pathogenesis of hypertension; the general organization of central neural pathways controlling the autonomic nervous system; and the neuropharmacology of nicotine.

Studies on the central neural control of cardiovascular function are currently aimed at understanding the role of the brain in the long-term regulation of blood pressure. This line of research uses pharmacological, neurochemical, and neuroanatomical techniques to determine the brain circuitry involved in baroreceptor-independent control of blood pressure in rats, and how modulation of this circuitry can result in hypertension. Additional studies examine the influence of increased dietary salt intake on this neural circuitry.

Studies aimed at understanding the organization of central neural pathways controlling the autonomic nervous system are currently using transynaptic retrograde transport of neurotropic viruses to delineate the central neural circuits that coordinate the regulation of autonomic control of different visceral targets in rats.

Studies examining the neuropharmacology are focused on why nicotine is a widely abused drug. Specifically, our current studies examine the interaction of nicotine with non-pharmacological environmental cues in sustaining robust nicotine self-administration in rats.

Representative Publications

Stocker SD, Sved AF, Andresen MC. Missing Pieces of the Piezo1/Piezo2 Baroreceptor Hypothesis: An Autonomic Perspective. Journal of Neurophysiology. PMID 31314636 DOI: 10.1152/jn.00315.2019 


White CM, Pickworth WB, Sved AF, Donny EC. Using Product Standards to Render the Most Harmful Tobacco Products Minimally Addictive: Maximum Nicotine Level, Non-Nicotine Constituents, and Scope. Nicotine & Tobacco Research : Official Journal of the Society For Research On Nicotine and Tobacco. 21: S13-S15. PMID 31867639 DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntz121 


Weeks JJ, Rupprecht LE, Grace AA, Donny EC, Sved AF. Nicotine self-administration is not increased in the MAM rodent model of schizophrenia. Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Mar 22. pii: ntz048. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntz048.


Ong J, Kinsman BJ, Sved AF, Rush BM, Tan RJ, Carattino MD, Stocker SD. Renal Sensory Nerves Increase Sympathetic Nerve Activity and Blood Pressurein 2-Kidney 1-Clip Hypertensive Mice. Journal of Neurophysiology. PMID 31091159 DOI: 10.1152/jn.00173.2019 


Rupprecht LE, Kreisler AD, Spierling SR, de Guglielmo G, Kallupi M, George O, Donny EC, Zorrilla EP, Sved AF. Self-administered nicotine increases fat metabolism and suppresses weight gain in male rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018; 235(4), pp. 1131-1140


Self-administered nicotine differentially impacts body weight gain in obesity-prone and obesity-resistant rats.Rupprecht LE, Smith TT, Donny EC, Sved AF.Physiol Behav. 2017 Feb 8. pii: S0031-9384(16)31042-3. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.02.007. PMID: 28189503


Reducing nicotine exposure results in weight gain in smokers randomised to very low nicotine content cigarettes.Rupprecht LE, Koopmeiners JS, Dermody SS, Oliver JA, al'Absi M, Benowitz NL, Denlinger-Apte R, Drobes DJ, Hatsukami D, McClernon FJ, Pacek LR, Smith TT, Sved AF, Tidey J, Vandrey R, Donny EC.Tob Control. 2016 Nov 17. pii: tobaccocontrol-2016-053301. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053301. PMID: 27856940


Rupprecht LE, Smith TT, Schassburger, RL, Donny EC, Sved AF. Effects of Nicotine on Rewards Varying in Palatability and Caloric Value: Implications for E-cigarette Flavoring. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 2016; 2(4): 343-351.


Schassburger RL, Pitzer EM, Smith TT, Rupprecht LE, Thiels E, Donny EC, Sved AF. Adolescent Rats Self-Administer Less Nicotine Than Adults at Low Doses. Nicotine Tob Res. 2016; 18(9), pp. 1861-1868


Characterizing the relationship between increases in the cost of nicotine and decreases in nicotine content in adult male rats: implications for tobacco regulation. Smith TT, Rupprecht LE, Sved AF, Donny EC. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 Dec;233(23-24):3953-3964. PMID: 27627909


Smith TT, Rupprecht LE, Cwalina SN, Onimus MJ, Murphy SE, Donny EC, Sved AF. Effects of Monoamine Oxidase Inhibition on the Reinforcing Properties of Low-Dose Nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016; 41: 2335-2343.


Palmatier, M.I., Liu, X., Donny, E.C., Caggiula, A.R. and Sved, A.F. Metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor (mGluR5) antagonists decrease nicotine seeking, but do not affect the reinforcement enhancing effects of nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology Aug;33(9):2139-47, 2008.


Palmatier, M.I., Liu, X., Matteson, G.L., Donny, E.C., Caggiula, A.R. and Sved, A.F. Conditioned reinforcement in rats established with self-administered nicotine and enhanced by noncontingent nicotine. Psychopharmacology (Berl) Dec;195(2):235-43, 2007.


Adams, J.M., Madden, C.J., Sved, A.F. and Stocker, S.D. Increased dietary salt enhances sympathoexcitatory and sympathoinhibitory responses from the rostral ventrolateral medulla. Hypertension Aug;50(2):354-9, 2007.


Palmatier, M.I., Liu, X., Caggiula, A.R., Donny, E.C. and Sved, A.F. The role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the primary reinforcing and reinforcement-enhancing effects of nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology May;32(5):1098-108, 2007.


Card, J.P., Sved, J.C., Craig, B., Raizada, M., Vazquez, J. and Sved, A.F. Efferent projections of rat rostroventrolateral medulla C1 catecholamine neurons: Implications for the central control of cardiovascular regulation. J Comp Neurol. Dec 10;499(5):840-59, 2006.

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