Dr H. Rheinallt Parri

Dr Rhein Parri

Senior Lecturer

School of Life & Health Sciences
Aston University
Birmingham B4 7ET

email: parrihr@aston.ac.uk
telephone: +44 (0) 121 204 4049
fax: +44 (0) 121 359 0733

Senior Lecturer on the Undergraduate Pharmacy Programme

Research Group

Molecular Biomedical Research

Research Centre

Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) 

Teaching Activity on the MPharm Programme

PH1401 (Module coordinator): Neuronal excitability, cardiovascular physiology, endocrinology, brain anatomy, respiration and blood pressure practical classes.
PH2501: Anaemia, haemostasis, inotropy, vasodilators.
PH3601: Dementia, affective disorders, Stroke.

PHM016-PHM025: Cardiovascular, Calcium signaling, VGCCs.

Pharmacy Programme First year Tutor

Member of the Neurophysiology  & Clinical Neuroimaging Research Group

Career History

  • 2012- Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, Aston University.
  • 2004-2012 Lecturer in Pharmacology, Aston University.
  • 1995-2004 School of Biosciences, Cardiff University.
  • 1992-1995 Department of Pharmacology, University of California at San Francisco.
  • 1988-1992 Department of Neurophysiology, Southampton University.

Research Interests

In recent years it has become clear that in addition to their traditional roles as “housekeepers” of the brain’s environment, astrocytes can also signal to neurones using many of the mechanisms previously thought exclusive to neuronal transmission. The release of such transmitters as glutamate and ATP can elicit and affect neuronal excitability and modulate synaptic transmission.

The focus of my research is on the mechanisms of astrocyte-neuron signalling in the thalamus, and how such signalling is involved in thalamic function. The techniques used are combined electrophysiological recording and Calcium imaging. 

Movie 1. Monochrome movie of spontaneous astrocytic calcium elevations in a VB thalamus slice. Slices are loaded with Fluo-4AM, an dimaged using a Cairn Optoscan monochromator and Hamamatsu Orca ER camera operated with Compix Simple PCI software. Images taken every 5s.

Movie 2. Pseudocolour movie showing a patch clamped astrocyte in a VB thalamus slice filled with Fluo-4 and imaged with a Noran Odyssey confocal microscope. Stimulation of the sensory but not of the cortical afferents results in a [Ca2+]i elevation in a process located on the left side of the astrocytic soma, which then propagates to the soma and throughout the other visible astrocytic processes. Images were acquired at 1Hz.

Movie 3. VB thalamus slice loaded with 1mM SR101. Movie shows Z-series revealing astrocytic morphology and processes within the slice.

Research Funding

Research in the laboratory is supported by The BBSRC, NC3Rs and Alzheimer's Research UK. 

Selected Publications

Stem Cell-derived astrocytes: Are they physiologically credible? Hill, E., Nagel D., Parri R., Coleman M. J Physiol. 2015 Dec 4. doi: 10.1113/JP270658.

Astrocyte and neuronal plasticity in the somatosensory system. Sims RE, Butcher JB, Parri HR, Glazewski S. Neural Plast. 2015;2015:732014. doi: 10.1155/2015/732014. Epub 2015 Aug 4

Amyloid β 1-42 induces hypometabolism in human stem cell-derived neuron and astrocyte networksMarta A Tarczyluk, David A Nagel, H R. Parri, Erin HY Tse, James E Brown, Michael D Coleman and Eric J Hill. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2015 April; doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2015.58.

 A predictive in vitro model of the impact of drugs with anticholinergic properties on human neuronal and astrocytic systems.Woehrling EK, Parri HR, Tse EH, Hill EJ, Maidment ID, Fox GC, Coleman MD. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 4;10(3):e0118786. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118786. eCollection 2015

 Gould T, Chen L, Emri Z, Pirttimaki T, Errington AC, Crunelli V, Parri HR. (2014) GABAB receptor-mediated activation of astrocytes by gamma-hydroxybutyric acid. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. Oct 19;369(1654). pii: 20130607. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0607

 Crunelli, V., Di Giovanni, G., Parri, H.R., Errington, A.Gain of Function of thalamic extrasynaptic GABA-A receptors in typical absence seizures. in Extrasynaptic GABAA Receptors, (2014) p223-238, Springer,  ISBN 978-1-4939-1426-5.

 Pirttimaki TM, Codadu NK, Awni A, Pratik P, Nagel DA, Hill EJ, Dineley KT, Parri HR. (2013). α7 Nicotinic Receptor-Mediated Astrocytic Gliotransmitter Release: Aβ Effects in a Preclinical Alzheimer's Mouse Model. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 28;8(11):e81828. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081828

Pirttimaki TM, Parri HR.(2013) Astrocyte plasticity: implications for synaptic and neuronal activity. Neuroscientist.  Dec;19(6):604-15. doi: 10.1177/1073858413504999. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

 Parri HR.(2013) Star spangled manner: astrocytes and neurons contribute to adenosine release in the hippocampus.   J Physiol. Aug 15;591(Pt 16):3805-6. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.259838.

 Tarczyluk MA, Nagel DA, O'Neil JD, Parri HR, Tse EH, Coleman MD, Hill EJ.  Functional astrocyte-neuron lactate shuttle in a human stem cell-derived neuronal network.J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. Sep;33(9):1386-93. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2013.81. Epub 2013 May 29.

 Pirttimaki T, Parri HR, Crunelli V. (2013) Astrocytic GABA transporter GAT-1 dysfunction in experimental absence seizures. J Physiol. 2013 Feb 15;591(Pt 4):823-33. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.242016. Epub 2012 Oct 22. 

Hill, E.J.,Jimenez-Gonzalez,C.M., Tarczyzluk,M., Coleman,M.D. & Parri, H.R. (2012). NT2 derived neuronal and astrocytic network signalling. PLoS One.2012;7(5):e36098.

Matthew T. Conner, Alex C. Conner, Charlotte E. Bland, Luke H.J. Taylor, James E.P. Brown,  H. Rheinallt Parri, and Roslyn M. Bill. (2012). 
Rapid aquaporin trafficking regulates cellular water flow: the mechanism of hypotonicity-induced sub-cellular localization of the aquaporin 1 water channel. J.Biol.Chem. J Biol Chem. 2012 Feb 9.

Pirttimaki, T.M. & Parri, H.R. (2012). Glutamatergic Input-Output properties of thalamic astrocytes. Neuroscience. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.12.049. 2012 Mar 15;205:18-28. Epub 2012 Jan 3

Pirttimaki T., Hall, S.D., Parri, H.R. (2011) Sustained neuronal activity generated by glial plasticity. Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 May;31(21):7637-7647.

Jimenez-Gonzalez, C.M, Pirttimaki, T., Cope D.W., Parri, H.R. (2011)  Non-neuronal, slow GABA signalling in the VB thalamus targets delta subunit containing GABA(A) receptors. Eur.J.Neurosci. 2011 Apr;33(8):1471-82.

Parri, H.R. Hernandez, C.M., Dineley, K.T. (2011) Research Update: Alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor mechanisms in Alzheimer's Disease. Biochem. Pharmacol. 2011; 82: 931-42.

Hughes, S.W., Lorincz, M.L., Parri, H.R., Crunelli, V. (2011)   Infraslow (<1Hz) oscillations in thalamic relay nuclei, basic mechanisms and significance to health and disease states. Prog Brain Res. 2011; 193C:145-162.

Parri HR, Gould TM, Crunelli V. (2010)
Sensory and cortical activation of distinct glial cell subtypes in the somatosensory thalamus of young rats.

Eur J Neurosci. 2010 Jul;32(1):29-40.

Watson J, Guzzetti S, Franchi C, Di Clemente A, Burbassi S, Emri Z, Leresche N, Parri HR, Crunelli V, Cervo L. (2010)
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate does not maintain self-administration but induces conditioned place preference when injected in the ventral tegmental area.
Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2010 Mar;13(2):143-53. Epub 2009 Jul 2

Parri HR, Dineley TK. (2010)
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor interaction with beta-amyloid: molecular, cellular, and physiological consequences.
Curr Alzheimer Res. Feb;7(1):27-39.

Parri, H.R. and Crunelli, V. (2007)
Astrocytes target presynaptic NMDA receptors to give synapses a boost.
Nat Neurosci. 10(3):271-3. (News and Views).

 Flood, S., Parri, H.R., Williams, A., Duance, V., Mason, D. (2007)
Functional ionotropic glutamate receptors modulate IL-6 and MMP-2 expression in human fibroblast like synoviocytes.
Arth. And Rheu. :56(8): 2523-34.

Hughes SW, Lorincz M, Cope DW, Blethyn KL, Kekesi KA, Parri HR, Juhasz G, Crunelli V. (2004).
Synchronized oscillations at alpha and theta frequencies in the lateral geniculate nucleus.
Neuron. Apr 22;42(2):253-68.

Parri, H.R. and Crunelli, V. (2003).
The role of Ca2+ in the generation of spontaneous astrocytic Ca2+ oscillations.
Neuroscience. 120(4): 979-92.

Parri, H.R. and Crunelli, V. (2003).
An astrocyte bridge from synapse to blood flow.
Nature Neuroscience 6(1): 5-6.

Crunelli, V., Blethyn, K.L., Cope, D.W., Hughes, S.W., Parri, H.R., Turner, J.P., T�th, T.I., Williams, S.R. (2002).
Novel neuronal and astrocytic mechanisms in thalamocortical loop dynamics.
Phil.Trans.Roy.Soc.�B. 357(1428) 1675-1694.

Parri, H.R., and Crunelli, V. (2002).
Astrocytes, spontaneity, and the developing thalamus.
Journal of Physiology Paris 96(3-4): 221-30.

Parri, H. R. and V. Crunelli (2001).
Pacemaker calcium oscillations in thalamic astrocytes in situ.
Neuroreport 12(18): 3897-900.

Parri, H. R., Gould, T.M., Crunelli, V. (2001).
Spontaneous astrocytic Ca2+ oscillations in situ drive NMDAR-mediated neuronal excitation.
Nature Neuroscience 4(8): 803-12.