James D Belluzzi

Adjunct Professor, Pharmacology
School of Medicine

Ph.D., University of Chicago
B.S., Illinois Institute of Technology

Phone: (949) 824-5471
Fax: (949) 824-4855
Email: belluzzi@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
356B Med Surge II
Mail Code: 4625
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
nicotine, cocaine, reinforcement, reward, development, adolescence
Research Abstract
Dr. Belluzzi’s main research focus is on brain mechanisms of reinforcement. Using animal models of reward, such as drug self-administration and conditioned place preference, he studies the role that nicotine receptors play in controlling tobacco abuse, with special emphasis on age-related changes in sensitivity to nicotine’s reinforcing actions. He is also exploring the effects that chemicals present in tobacco smoke, such as acetaldehyde, might have in enhancing nicotine’s reinforcing effects. Finally, he is examining age-related changes in the reinforcing effects of cocaine and whether nicotine during adolescence alters cocaine’s reinforcing actions in young adults.
Wang L, Alachkar A, Sanathara N, Belluzzi JD, Wang Z, Civelli O. (2015) A Methionine-Induced Animal Model of Schizophrenia: Face and Predictive Validity. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 18(12) pii:pyv054.

Arnold MM, Loughlin SE, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2014) Reinforcing and neural activating effects of norharmane, a non-nicotine tobacco constituent, alone and in combination with nicotine. Neuropharmacology. 85:293-304.

Costello MR, Reynaga DD, Mojica CY, Zaveri NT, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2014) Comparison of the reinforcing properties of nicotine and cigarette smoke extract in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 39(8):1843-51.

Mojica CY, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2014) Age-dependent alterations in reward-seeking behavior after brief nicotine exposure. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 231(8):1763-73.

Chung S, Verheij MM, Hesseling P, van Vugt RW, Buell M, Belluzzi JD, Geyer MA, Martens GJ, Civelli O. (2011) The melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) system modulates behaviors associated with psychiatric disorders. PLoS One. 6(7):e19286.

Lotfipour S, Arnold MM, Hogenkamp DJ, Gee KW, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2011) Themonoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor tranylcypromine enhances nicotine self-administration in rats through a mechanism independent of MAO inhibition. Neuropharmacology. 61(1-2):95-104.

Dao JM, McQuown SC, Loughlin SE, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2011) Nicotine alters limbic function in adolescent rat by a 5-HT1A receptor mechanism. Neuropsychopharmacology. 36:1319-31.

Johnstone TB, Gu Z, Yoshimura RF, Villegier AS, Hogenkamp DJ, Whittemore ER,Huang JC, Tran MB, Belluzzi JD, Yakel JL, Gee KW. (2010) Allosteric modulation of related ligand-gated ion channels synergistically induces long-term potentiation in the hippocampus and enhances cognition. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 336(3):908-15.

Villégier AS, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2010) Serotonergic mechanism underlying tranylcypromine enhancement of nicotine self-administration. Synapse. 65:479-89.

Cao J, Belluzzi JD, Loughlin SE, Dao JM, Chen Y, Leslie FM. (2010) Locomotor and stress responses to nicotine differ in adolescent and adult rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 96:82-90.

Villégier AS, Gallager B, Heston J, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2010) Age influences the effects of nicotine and monoamine oxidase inhibition on mood-related behaviors in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 208:593-601.

Gee KW, Tran MB, Hogenkamp DJ, Johnstone TB, Bagnera RE, Yoshimura RF, Huang JC, Belluzzi JD, Whittemore ER. (2010) Limiting activity at beta1-subunit-containing GABAA receptor subtypes reduces ataxia. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 332:1040-53.

McQuown SC, Dao JM, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2009) Age-dependent effects of low-dose nicotine treatment on cocaine-induced behavioral plasticity in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 207:143-52.

Chung S, Hopf FW, Nagasaki H, Li CY, Belluzzi JD, Bonci A, Civelli O. (2009) The melanin-concentrating hormone system modulates cocaine reward. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 106:6772-7.

Gehricke JG, Loughlin SE, Whalen CK, Potkin SG, Fallon JH, Jamner LD, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2007) Smoking to self-medicate attentional and emotional dysfunctions. Nicotine Tob Res. 9 Suppl 4:S523-36.

Franke RM, Park M, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2008) Prenatal nicotine exposure changes natural and drug-induced reinforcement in adolescent male rats. Eur J Neurosci. 27:2952-61.

Yoshimura RF, Hogenkamp DJ, Li WY, Tran MB, Belluzzi JD, Whittemore ER, Leslie FM, Gee KW. (2007) Negative allosteric modulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors blocks nicotine self-administration in rats. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 323:907-15.

Franke RM, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2007) Gestational exposure to nicotine and monoamine oxidase inhibitors influences cocaine-induced locomotion in adolescent rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 195:117-24.

Villégier AS, Lotfipour S, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2007) Involvement of alpha1-adrenergic receptors in tranylcypromine enhancement of nicotine self-administration in rat. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 193:457-65.

Villégier AS, Lotfipour S, McQuown SC, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2007) Tranylcypromine enhancement of nicotine self-administration. Neuropharmacology. 52:1415-25.

Cao J, Belluzzi JD, Loughlin SE, Keyler DE, Pentel PR, Leslie FM. (2007) Acetaldehyde, a major constituent of tobacco smoke, enhances behavioral, endocrine, and neuronal responses to nicotine in adolescent and adult rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 32:2025-35.

McQuown SC, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. Low dose nicotine treatment during early adolescence increases subsequent cocaine reward. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 29:66-73.

Park MK, Belluzzi JD, Han SH, Cao J, Leslie FM. (2007) Age, sex and early environment contribute to individual differences in nicotine/acetaldehyde-induced behavioral and endocrine responses in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 86:297-305.

Villégier AS, Salomon L, Granon S, Changeux JP, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM, Tassin JP. (2006) Monoamine oxidase inhibitors allow locomotor and rewarding responses to nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology. 31:1704-13.

Belluzzi JD, Wang R, Leslie FM. (2005) Acetaldehyde enhances acquisition of nicotine self-administration in adolescent rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 30:705-12.

Belluzzi JD, Lee AG, Oliff HS, Leslie FM. (2004) Age-dependent effects of nicotine on locomotor activity and conditioned place preference in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 174:389-95.

Park MK, Hoang TA, Belluzzi JD, Leslie FM. (2003) Gender specific effect of neonatal handling on stress reactivity of adolescent rats. J Neuroendocrinol. 15:289-95.

Manzardo AM, Stein L, Belluzzi JD. (2002) Rats prefer cocaine over nicotine in a two-lever self-administration choice test. Brain Res. 924:10-9.

Manzardo AM, Del Rio JA, Stein L, Belluzzi JD. (2001) Rats choose cocaine over dopamine agonists in a two-lever self-administration preference test. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 70:257-65.

Vanover KE, Rosenzweig-Lipson S, Hawkinson JE, Lan NC, Belluzzi JD, Stein L, Barrett JE, Wood PL, Carter RB. (2000) Characterization of the anxiolytic properties of a novel neuroactive steroid, Co 2-6749 (GMA-839; WAY-141839; 3alpha, 21-dihydroxy-3beta-trifluoromethyl-19-nor-5beta-pregnan-20-one), a selective modulator of gamma-aminobutyric acid(A) receptors. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 295:337-45.

Self DW, Belluzzi JD, Kossuth S, Stein L. (1996) Self-administration of the D1 agonist SKF 82958 is mediated by D1, not D2, receptors. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 123:303-6.

Wieland S, Belluzzi JD, Stein L, Lan NC. (1995) Comparative behavioral characterization of the neuroactive steroids 3 alpha-OH,5 alpha-pregnan-20-one and 3 alpha-OH,5 beta-pregnan-20-one in rodents. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 118(1):65-71.

Belluzzi JD, Domino EF, May JM, Bankiewicz KS, McAfee DA. (1994) N-0923, a selective dopamine D2 receptor agonist, is efficacious in rat and monkey models of Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 9:147-54.

Stein L, Xue BG, Belluzzi JD. (1994) In vitro reinforcement of hippocampal bursting: a search for Skinner's atoms of behavior. J Exp Anal Behav. 61:155-68.

Stein L, Xue BG, Belluzzi JD. (1993) Cellular targets of brain reinforcement systems. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 702:41-60.

Xue BG, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1993) In vitro reinforcement of hippocampal bursting by the cannabinoid receptor agonist (-)-CP-55,940. Brain Res. 626:272-7.

Stein L, Xue BG, Belluzzi JD. (1993) A cellular analogue of operant conditioning. J Exp Anal Behav. 60:41-53.

Trujillo KA, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1991) Naloxone blockade of amphetamine place preference conditioning. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 104:265-74.

Trujillo KA, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1989) Opiate antagonists and self-stimulation: extinction-like response patterns suggest selective reward deficit. Brain Res. 492:15-28.

Trujillo KA, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1989) Effects of opiate antagonists and their quaternary analogues on nucleus accumbens self-stimulation. Behav Brain Res. 33:181-8.

Trujillo KA, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1989) Naloxone suppression of self-stimulation is independent of response difficulty. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 33:147-55.

Stein L, Belluzzi JD. (1989) Cellular investigations of behavioral reinforcement. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 13:69-80.

Stevens KE, Leslie FM, Evans CJ, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1988) BAM-18: analgesia, hyperalgesia and locomotor effects. Neuropeptides. 12:21-7.

Stevens KE, Leslie FM, Evans CJ, Barchas JD, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1986) Intraventricular administration of BAM-18: antinociceptive and locomotor activity in the rat. NIDA Res Monogr. 75:446-9.

Black J, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1985) Reinforcement delay of one second severely impairs acquisition of brain self-stimulation. Brain Res. 359:113-9.

Kelsey JE, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1984) Does naloxone suppress self-stimulation by decreasing reward or by increasing aversion? Brain Res. 307:55-9.

Kelsey JE, Belluzzi JD. (1982) Endorphin mediation of post-ictal effects of kindled seizures in rats. Brain Res. 253:337-40.

Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1982) Brain endorphins: possible role in long-term memory. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 398:221-9.

Stein L, Belluzzi JD. (1979) Brain endorphins: possible role in reward and memory formation. Fed Proc. 38:2468-72.

McGregor WH, Stein L, Belluzzi JD. (1978) Potent analgesic activity of the enkephalin-like tetrapeptide H-Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-Phe-NH2. Life Sci. 23:1371-6.

Belluzzi JD, Stein L, Dvonch W, Dheer S, Gluckman MI, McGregor WH. (1978) Enhanced analgesic activity of D-Ala2 enkephalinamides following D-isomer substitutions at position five. Life Sci. 23:99-104.

Stein L, Belluzzi JD. (1978) Brain endorphins and the sense of well-being: a psychobiological hypothesis. Adv Biochem Psychopharmacol. 18:299-311.

Wise CD, Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1977) Possible role of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase in the regulation of norepinephrine biosynthesis in rat brain. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 7:549-53.

Stein L, Belluzzi JD, Wise CD. (1977) Benzodiazepines: behavioral and neurochemical mechanisms. Am J Psychiatry. 134:665-9.

Belluzzi JD, Stein L. (1977) Enkephalin may mediate euphoria and drive-reduction reward. Nature. 266:556-8.

Belluzzi JD, Grant N, Garsky V, Sarantakis D, Wise CD, Stein L. (1976) Analgesia induced in vivo by central administration of enkephalin in rat. Nature. 260:625-6.

Stein L, Belluzzi JD, Wise CD. (1975) Memory enhancement by central administration of norepinephrine. Brain Res. 84:329-35.

Belluzzi JD, Ritter S, Wise CD, Stein L. (1975) Substantia nigra self-stimulation: dependence on noradrenergic reward pathways. Behav Biol. 13:103-11.

Stein L, Wise CD, Belluzzi JD. (1975) Effects of benzodiazepines on central serotonergic mechanisms. Adv Biochem Psychopharmacol. 14:29-44.

Stein L, Belluzzi JD, Ritter S, Wise CD. (1974) Self-stimulation reward pathways: norepinephrine vs dopamine. J Psychiatr Res. 11:115-24.

Belluzzi JD, Grossman SP. (1973) A source of scrambled constant current with solid state control. Physiol Behav. 10:133-5.

Belluzzi JD. (1972) Long-lasting effects of cholinergic stimulation of the amygdaloid complex in the rat. J Comp Physiol Psychol. 80:269-82.

Sclafani A, Belluzzi JD, Grossman SP. (1970) Effects of lesions in the hypothalamus and amygdala on feeding behavior in the rat. J Comp Physiol Psychol. 72:394-403.

Belluzzi JD, Grossman SP. (1969) Avoidance learning: long-lasting deficits after temporal lobe seizure. Science. 166:1435-7.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) R01 DA024746, 02/01/10-01/31/14, $1,033,372 direct costs, A novel neuropeptide system involved in drug abuse (Role: Co-Investigator, P.I.: Dr. Olivier Civelli).
Graduate Programs
Pharmacological Sciences

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