Asset Publisher

angle-left Charles Bourque, PhD

Senior Scientist, RI-MUHC , Montreal General Hospital

Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program

Centre for Translational Biology

Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University



osmoregulation • thermosensitivity • osmosensitivity • hypertension

Research Focus

My research focuses on how the brain monitors and regulates body hydration (water content), blood sodium levels, and core temperature. Defects in the control of these parameters lie at the heart of public health concerns, and issues in critical-care medicine. For example, changes in centrally-mediated fluid homeostasis are responsible for salt-dependent hypertension, for brain swelling after head injury, and for cardiovascular impairment during septic shock. Part of my work investigates how proteins, termed ion channels, mediate the effects of changes in blood sodium and body temperature on the electrical activity of neurons in brain regions that control thirst, blood pressure, and secretion of vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone) and oxytocin (a hormone that plays many roles in reproduction and social behaviors). My work also examines how changes in these mechanisms contribute to disease symptoms caused by high salt intake, head trauma, or peritoneal sepsis. The new knowledge created by my group expands our understanding of body fluid homeostasis; contributes to public health discussions regarding dietary salt intake; and will lead to novel means of intervention in preventive and therapeutic medicine.

Selected Publications

Click on Pubmed to see my current publications list

  • Choe KY, Han SY, Gaub P, Shell B, Voisin DL, Knapp BA, Barker PA, Brown CH, Cunningham JT and Bourque CW. (2015) High Salt Intake Increases Blood Pressure via BDNF-Mediated Downregulation of KCC2 and Impaired Baroreflex Inhibition of Vasopressin Neurons. Neuron 85, 549-560. PMID: 25619659.

  • Prager-Khoutorsky M, Khoutorsky A and Bourque CW (2014) Unique Interweaved Microtubule Scaffold Mediates Osmosensory Transduction via Physical Interaction with TRPV1. Neuron 83, 866-878. PMID: 25123313.

  • Trudel E and Bourque CW (2010) Central clock excites vasopressin neurons by waking osmosensory afferents during late sleep. Nature Neuroscience 13, 467-474. PMID: 20190744.

  • Bourque CW (2008) Central mechanisms of osmosensation and systemic osmoregulation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9, 519-531. PMID: 18509340.

  • Sharif-Naeini R, Ciura S and Bourque CW (2008) Trpv1 gene required for thermosensory transduction and anticipatory secretion from vasopressin neurons during hyperthermia. Neuron 58, 179-181.  PMID: 18439403.