Alison Xie, PhD
Assistant Research Professor, Surgery-Urology

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Graduate Schools :
  • PhD, University of California, Riverside (2011)
  • MS, University of Science and Technology of China (2005)
Undergraduate School:
  • BS, University of Science and Technology of China (2002)
Languages: English, Mandarin
Department: Surgery-Urology

Professional Titles

  • Assistant Professor

Recognition & Awards

  • Faculty Professionalism Award, Department of surgery, School of Medicine, CU-AMC (2024)
  • Young Investigator Award, The Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR) (2023)
  • Early-career Faculty Research Development Award, Ludeman Center for Women's Health Research (2023)

Research Interests

The Xie lab studies satellite glia-neuron interactions in the peripheral nervous system. Satellite glial cells are the predominant glial cell type in the peripheral ganglia. They are in close proximity to ganglionic neurons, synapses, and vasculature. We have observed potent neuromodulatory capacity of satellite glial cells following their Gq-GPCR activations. For example, in sympathetic ganglia, satellite glial Gq-GPCR activation increases sympathetic nerve activity, and subsequently increases heart contractions and blood pressure. In sensory ganglia, namely the dorsal root ganglia (DRGs), Gq-GPCR activation in satellite glial cells produces strong analgesia. Currently, the Xie lab works in close collaboration with other research labs in the Basic and Translational Urology Research Program to investigate the therapeutic potential of activating satellite glial signaling for the treatment of chronic pelvic pain. Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are the hallmark of the symptoms in patients diagnosed with urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS). The UCPPS symptoms are closely associated with nociceptive sensitization in the sensory ganglia. As a neuroscientist and glia biologist, I aim to utilize the neuro-inhibitory potential of satellite glial signaling to suppress the symptoms of chronic pelvic pain.


  • Xie AX, Iguchi N, Malykhina AP. Long-term follow-up of TREK-1 KO mice reveals the development of bladder hypertrophy and impaired bladder smooth muscle contractility with age. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2024 Jun 1;326(6):F957-F970. PubMed PMID: 38601986
  • Xie AX, Iguchi N, Clarkson TC, Malykhina AP. Pharmacogenetic inhibition of lumbosacral sensory neurons alleviates visceral hypersensitivity in a mouse model of chronic pelvic pain. PLoS One. 2022;17(1):e0262769. PubMed PMID: 35077502
  • Clarkson TC, Iguchi N, Xie AX, Malykhina AP. Differential transcriptomic changes in the central nervous system and urinary bladders of mice infected with a coronavirus. PLoS One. 2022;17(12):e0278918. PubMed PMID: 36490282
  • Xie AX†*, Taves S†, McCarthy KD. Nuclear factor Kappa B-COX2 pathway activation in non-myelinating Schwann cells is necessary for the maintenance of neuropathic pain in mice. Front Cell Neurosci., 14 January 2022,
  • Iguchi N, Carrasco A Jr, Xie AX, Pineda RH, Malykhina AP, Wilcox DT. Functional constipation induces bladder overactivity associated with upregulations of Htr2 and Trpv2 pathways. Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 13;11(1):1149. PubMed PMID: 33441874
  • Xie AX*, Madayag A, Minton SK, McCarthy KD, Malykhina AP. Sensory satellite glial Gq-GPCR activation alleviates inflammatory pain via peripheral adenosine 1 receptor activation. Sci Rep. 2020 Aug 25;10(1):14181. PubMed PMID: 32843670
  • Xie AX†, Pan XQ†, Meacham RB, Malykhina AP. The Expression of Transcription Factors Mecp2 and CREB Is Modulated in Inflammatory Pelvic Pain. Front Syst Neurosci. 2018;12:69. PubMed PMID: 30687029
  • Xie AX*, Lee JJ, McCarthy KD. Ganglionic GFAP+ glial Gq-GPCR signaling enhances heart functions in vivo. JCI Insight. 2017 Jan 26;2(2):e90565. PubMed PMID: 28138563
  • Xie AX*, Chaia A, McCarthy KD. Targeting sympathetic glia for treating cardiovascular diseases. Receptors &Clinical Investigation 2017; 4: e1572. doi: 10.14800/rci.1572;
  • Annis RP, Swahari V, Nakamura A, Xie AX, Hammond SM, Deshmukh M. Mature neurons dynamically restrict apoptosis via redundant premitochondrial brakes. FEBS J. 2016 Dec;283(24):4569-4582. PubMed PMID: 27797453
  • Xie AX, Petravicz J, McCarthy KD. Molecular approaches for manipulating astrocytic signaling in vivo. Front Cell Neurosci. 2015;9:144. PubMed PMID: 25941472
  • Sun MY, Devaraju P, Xie AX, Holman I, Samones E, Murphy TR, Fiacco TA. Astrocyte calcium microdomains are inhibited by bafilomycin A1 and cannot be replicated by low-level Schaffer collateral stimulation in situ. Cell Calcium. 2014 Jan;55(1):1-16. PubMed PMID: 24262208
  • Xie AX, Lauderdale K, Murphy T, Myers TL, Fiacco TA. Inducing plasticity of astrocytic receptors by manipulation of neuronal firing rates. J Vis Exp. 2014 Mar 20;(85). PubMed PMID: 24686723
  • Agulhon C, Boyt KM, Xie AX, Friocourt F, Roth BL, McCarthy KD. Modulation of the autonomic nervous system and behaviour by acute glial cell Gq protein-coupled receptor activation in vivo. J Physiol. 2013 Nov 15;591(22):5599-609. PubMed PMID: 24042499
  • Xie AX, Sun MY, Murphy T, Lauderdale K, Tiglao E, Fiacco TA. Bidirectional scaling of astrocytic metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling following long-term changes in neuronal firing rates. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49637. PubMed PMID: 23166735
  • Carson MJ, Crane J, Xie AX. Modeling CNS microglia: the quest to identify predictive models. Drug Discov Today Dis Models. 2008;5(1):19-25. PubMed PMID: 19444332
  • Wang H, Xie X, Li X, Chen B, Zhou Y. Functional degradation of visual cortical cells in aged rats. Brain Res. 2006 Nov 29;1122(1):93-8. PubMed PMID: 17010946
  • Jia F, Wei H, Li X, Xie X, Zhou Y. Short-term synaptic plasticity in the rat geniculo-cortical pathway during development in vivo. Neurosci Lett. 2006 May 1;398(1-2):73-7. PubMed PMID: 16406670
  • Xie X, Wang H, Chen B, Zhou Y. “Neural response characteristic of neuron to flashing stimulus in visual cortex of young rats”. Progress in Biochemistry and Biophysics. 2005,32(11):1088-1092
  • Jia F, Xie X, Zhou Y. Short-term depression of synaptic transmission from rat lateral geniculate nucleus to primary visual cortex in vivo. Brain Res. 2004 Mar 26;1002(1-2):158-61. PubMed PMID: 14988046
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Professional Memberships

  • South-Central Section of the American Urological Association, Faculty member
  • Society for Basic Urologic Research, Faculty member
  • American Society of Neurochemistry, Faculty member
  • Colorado Clinical Translational Science Institute, Faculty member
  • Center for NeuroScience, CU-AMC, Faculty member
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, CU-AMC, Faculty member
  • Medical Scientist Training Program, Faculty member
  • Integrated Physiology Program, Faculty member
Volunteer Activities
Scientific reviewer for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) Judge for the Denver Metro Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Public Speaking
Neural control of cardiovascular function and bladder functions; cell-cell interactions in the nervous system; glial function and neuromodulation; GPCR signaling in glial cells.

General Information

Graduate Schools:
  • PhD, University of California, Riverside (2011)
  • MS, University of Science and Technology of China (2005)
Undergraduate Schools:
  • BS, University of Science and Technology of China (2002)
Download CV
Languages: English, Mandarin
Department: Surgery-Urology
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CU Anschutz
Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place
Campus Box C290
Aurora, CO 80045

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