My research uses sleep as a model behavior for the study of neural-immune interactions, focusing on two questions: How does the immune system communicate with the brain to modify behavior? What mechanisms mediate illness-associated behaviors like excessive sleepiness and fatigue? To date, my work has used animal models to demonstrate that alterations in sleep accompany infectious diseases of diverse etiologies. These sleep changes vary with the infectious organism, its viability, and the route of inoculation and are influenced by the immune competence, exposure history, environment, and genetic background of the animal.
My long-term goal is to define the causes of fatigue and altered sleepiness during infectious disease. To that end, I recently completed an analysis of genetic contributions to altered sleep patterns in influenza-infected mice. This analysis revealed that quantitative trait locus, Srilp1, that accounts for large and consistent differences in influenza-related alterations in sleep in different strains of inbred mice. Future work will build on that finding by using genetic mapping and a candidate gene strategy to identify the genetic and pathologic mechanisms that mediate sleep responses to influenza infection and other types of microbial challenges. Identifying the genes that influence sleep during infections is an important step toward discovering substances that influence disease susceptibility and symptoms. Studying the mechanisms by which genes and their products modulate sleep will ultimately improve our understanding of the processes that control normal sleep and that contribute to sleep disorders.
Ramkumar V, Jhaveri K, Xie X, Jajoo S, and Toth L. (2011) Nuclear Factor kB and Adenosine Receptors Biochemical and Behavioral Profiling. Current Neuropharmacology 9:342-349.
Tischkau SA, RA Trammell and LA Toth. 2011. Impact of sleep disruption on clock gene expression, cellular stress and inflammation in lung. (In preparation for submission to PLoS One).
Toth L. Sleep fragmentation, clock genes, and endoplasmic reticulum stress in lung. Annual meeting of the Association of Professional Sleep Societies, Minneapolis MN. June 2011.
Toth L. Endpoints and the new Guide. SCAW IACUC training workshop, St. Louis, MO. July, 2011.
Toth L. Editor in Chief, Comparative Medicine and Journal of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science, 2005 – present
Toth L. AAMC
GRAND steering committee, 2010 – 2014
AAMC/AAHSL Research Summit
Working group to develop goals and agenda for “Working together to build the digital research enterprise,” to be held at the National Library of Medicine, October 2011
Summit: Discussion facilitator on “Sustaining the digital research enterprise,” sponsored by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, the National Library of Medicine, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. Rockville MD, October 2011.
Toth L. NIH
Reviewer, OppNet RFA on Sleep and the Social Environment, March 2011
Ad hoc reviewer, Neuroendocrinology, Neuroimmunology, Rhythms & Sleep (NNRS) study section, October, 2011
Reviewer, Special Emphasis Panel on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, February 2012
Reviewer, OppNet RFA on Sleep and the Social Environment, March 2012
Member, Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods, NIEHS, 2009 – 2013