Pamela Potter, PhD

Professor and Chair

Midwestern University 
College: AZCOM
Department/Program: Pharmacology
Building and Office Room # Agave 214
19555 N 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (623)572-3391 


BSc (Hons) Biochemistry Dalhousie University 1976
PhD Pharmacology Dalhousie University 1981


My scientific interest is in neuropharmacology, in particular cholinergic receptor dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. Much of my work has focused on cholinergic transmission.  I developed a method for measuring acetylcholine, studied acetylcholine turnover and release, as well as the effects of cholinergic receptors on the release of other neurotransmitters.  I began to develop animal models for studying Alzheimer's Disease, and then used them to study uncoupling of muscarinic receptors and production of beta-amyloid. We showed increased deposition of beta-amyloid in animals with cholinergic lesions and were able to prevent that with cholinergic therapy. 

I have also studied cholinergic receptor function in brain samples from patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and compared it to that in non-demented controls with varying amounts of beta-amyloid plaques and tangles.  Patients who are not demented but have significant pathology may be "at risk" for development of Alzheimer's disease. Muscarinic receptor uncoupling occurred in non-demented controls with accumulation of beta-amyloid and loss of cholinergic function.  This suggests that the process of degeneration begins prior to onset of symptoms and might be slowed or prevented by therapies that decrease development of beta-amyloid.

The current research in my lab focusses on determining where receptor coupling and function goes awry.  While the levels of G-proteins are unchanged, the G protein receptor kinase, GRK 2 is altered.  Expression of beta-arrestin, which are involved in phosphorylation and recycling of receptors, is also changed.  We are currently examining these changes in human tissue as well as in experimental models of Alzheimer's Disease.


Full list of publications, click here

Selected publications

Pre- and post-synaptic cortical cholinergic deficits are proportional to amyloid plaque presence and density at preclinical stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Potter PE, Rauschkolb PK, Pandya Y, Sue LI, Sabbagh MN, Walker DG, Beach TG. Acta Neuropathol. 2011 Jul;122(1):49-60. doi: 10.1007/s00401-011-0831-1. Epub 2011 May 1.  PMID: 2153385

Investigational medications for treatment of patients with Alzheimer disease.
Potter PE. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2010 Sep;110(9 Suppl 8):S27-36. Review.  PMID: 20926740

Cortical cholinergic denervation elicits vascular A beta deposition.
Roher AE, Kuo YM, Potter PE, Emmerling MR, Durham RA, Walker DG, Sue LI, Honer WG, Beach TG. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 Apr;903:366-73. PMID: 10818527

Cholinergic deafferentation of the rabbit cortex: a new animal model of Abeta deposition.
Beach TG, Potter PE, Kuo YM, Emmerling MR, Durham RA, Webster SD, Walker DG, Sue LI, Scott S, Layne KJ, Roher AE. Neurosci Lett. 2000 Mar 31;283(1):9-12. PMID: 10729621

Lesion of septal-hippocampal neurons with 192 IgG-saporin alters function of M1 muscarinic receptors.
Potter PE, Gaughan C, Assouline Y. Neuropharmacology. 1999 Apr;38(4):579-86. PMID: 10221761