null Charles Bourque, PhD, FCAHS, FRSC

Senior Scientist, RI-MUHC, Montreal General Hospital site

Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program

Centre for Translational Biology

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

Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology, MUHC



osmoregulation • thermosensitivity • osmosensitivity • hypertension • ciradian rhythms

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

  • Gizowski C and Bourque CW (2020) Sodium regulates clock time and output via an excitatory GABAergic pathway. Nature 583, 421-424. PMID: 32641825.

  • Ciura S, Prager-Khoutorsky M, Thirouin ZS, Wyrosdic JC, Olson JE, Liedtke W, Bourque CW (2018) Trpv4 Mediates Hypotonic Inhibition of Central Osmosensory Neurons via Taurine Gliotransmission. Cell Reports 23, 2245-2253. PMID: 29791836.

  • Gizowski C and Bourque CW. (2018) The neural basis of homeostatic and anticipatory thirst. Nature Reviews Nephrology 14, 11-25. PMID: 29129925.

  • Gizowski C, Zaelzer C, Bourque CW (2016) Clock-driven vasopressin neurotransmission mediates anticipatory thirst prior to sleep. Nature 537, 685-688. PMID: 27680940.

  • 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.