Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Dr John Ashton

John AshtonDr Ashton’s lab focuses on the endocannabinoid system. Discovered less than two decades ago, this system of receptors, messengers, and enzymes regulates a number of physiological processes. Cannabinoid drugs act on this system with a variety of effects, some of therapeutic benefit, and some potentially harmful. His research interests include cannabinoid drugs, neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, hyperalgesia and pain, interactions of cannabinoids with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, cannabinoid CB2 receptors as drug targets, and endocannabinoid signaling.

Dr Ashton is looking at the endocannabinoid system to better understand how it functions and to tease out the beneficial effects from the side effects of new cannabinoid drugs. He and other research groups have recently found the CB2 receptor to be involved in a number of pathological processes in the central nervous system. He is focusing on ischemic brain damage (stroke) and chronic, neuropathic pain; two major medical problems that cause enormous social costs and carry a huge burden of individual suffering.

Along with collaborating labs in Auckland and the USA, he has found exciting preliminary data that shows that drugs that can activate the CB2 receptor can reduce brain damage from stroke and relieve chronic pain from nerve injuries.

Find out more about Dr Ashton’s research.

^ Top of page

Publications

Rivers-Auty, J. R., Smith, P. F., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). The cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist GW405833 does not ameliorate brain damage induced by hypoxia-ischemia in rats. Neuroscience Letters, 569, 104-109. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.03.077

Maggo, S., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). Effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors on learning and memory in the guinea pig. European Journal of Pharmacology, 723, 294-304. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.11.018

Ashton, J. C., Zheng, Y., Darlington, C., Baek, J.-H., & Smith, P. F. (2014). Cannabinoid CB2 receptor immunolabelling in the healthy brain—still a live possibility. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology, 387(3), 301. doi: 10.1007/s00210-013-0948-y

Rivers-Auty, J., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). Neuroinflammation in ischemic brain injury as an adaptive process. Medical Hypotheses, 82(2), 151-158. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.11.024

Linsell, O., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). Cerebral hypoxia-ischemia causes cardiac damage in a rat model. NeuroReport, 25(10), 796-800. doi: 10.1097/wnr.0000000000000190

Chapter in Book - Research

Rivers, J. R., & Ashton, J. C. (2013). Neonatal asphyxia and stroke: Morbidity, models, consequences, and treatments. In D. Vordermark (Ed.), Hypoxia: Causes, types and management. (pp. 89-110). New York: Nova.

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Article

Marchalant, Y., Brownjohn, P. W., Bonnet, A., Kleffmann, T., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). Validating antibodies to the cannabinoid CB2 receptor: Antibody sensitivity is not evidence of antibody specificity. Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, 62(6), 395-404. doi: 10.1369/0022155414530995

Maggo, S., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). Effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors on learning and memory in the guinea pig. European Journal of Pharmacology, 723, 294-304. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.11.018

Linsell, O., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). Cerebral hypoxia-ischemia causes cardiac damage in a rat model. NeuroReport, 25(10), 796-800. doi: 10.1097/wnr.0000000000000190

Rivers-Auty, J. R., Smith, P. F., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). The cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist GW405833 does not ameliorate brain damage induced by hypoxia-ischemia in rats. Neuroscience Letters, 569, 104-109. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.03.077

Rivers, J. R., & Ashton, J. C. (2013). Age matching animal models to humans: Theoretical considerations. Current Drug Discovery Technologies, 10(3), 177-181.

Ashton, J. C. (2013). Phylogenetic methods in drug discovery. Current Drug Discovery Technologies, 10(4), 255-262. doi: 10.2174/15701638113109990033

Baek, J.-H., Darlington, C. L., Smith, P. F., & Ashton, J. C. (2013). Antibody testing for brain immunohistochemistry: Brain immunolabeling for the cannabinoid CB2 receptor. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 216(2), 87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2013.03.021

Rivers, J. R., Maggo, S. D. S., & Ashton, J. C. (2012). Neuroprotective effect of hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin in hypoxia-ischemia. NeuroReport, 23(3), 134-138. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32834ee47c

Brownjohn, P. W., & Ashton, J. C. (2012). Spinal cannabinoid CB2 receptors as a target for neuropathic pain: An investigation using chronic constriction injury. Neuroscience, 203, 180-193. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.12.028

Breen, C., Brownjohn, P. W., & Ashton, J. C. (2012). The atypical cannabinoid O-1602 increases hind paw sensitisation in the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain. Neuroscience Letters, 508(2), 119-122. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2011.12.039

Ashton, J. C. (2012). Neuropathic pain: An evolutionary hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, 78(5), 641-643. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.01.044

Mandhane, S., Nayak, P., Soni, D., Jain, S., Ashton, J. C., & Rajamannar, T. (2012). Induction of glucose intolerance by acute administration of rimonabant. Pharmacology, 89(5-6), 339-347. doi: 10.1159/000337731

Ashton, J. C. (2012). Synthetic cannabinoids as drugs of abuse. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 5(2), 158-168. doi: 10.2174/1874473711205020158

Ashton, J. C. (2012). The atypical cannabinoid O-1602: Targets, actions, and the central nervous system. Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, 12(3), 233-239.

Maggo, S., Clark, D., & Ashton, J. C. (2012). The effect of statins on performance in the Morris water maze in guinea pig. European Journal of Pharmacology, 674(2-3), 287-293. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.11.006

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Other

Ashton, J. C. (2015). Drug combination studies and their synergy quantification using the Chou-Talalay method. Cancer Research, 75, 2400. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.can-14-3763

Brownjohn, P. W., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). What can be concluded from blocking peptide controls? Applied Immunohistochemistry & Molecular Morphology, 22(8), 634. doi: 10.1097/PAI.0b013e3182a77fe5

Rivers-Auty, J., & Ashton, J. C. (2014). Neuroinflammation in ischemic brain injury as an adaptive process. Medical Hypotheses, 82(2), 151-158. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.11.024

Rivers-Auty, J., & Ashton, J. C. (2013). Vehicles for lipophilic drugs: Implications for experimental design, neuroprotection, and drug discovery. Current Neurovascular Research, 10(4), 356-360. doi: 10.2174/15672026113109990021

Ashton, J. C. (2013). Experimental power comes from powerful theories: The real problem in null hypothesis testing. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14, 585. doi: 10.1038/nrn3475-c2

Ashton, J. C. (2012). The use of knockout mice to test the specificity of antibodies for cannabinoid receptors. Hippocampus, 22(3), 643-644. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20946

Brownjohn, P. W., & Ashton, J. C. (2012). A technical note for improving animal welfare and model validity in the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain. European Journal of Pain, 16(10), 1477. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00199.x

Brownjohn, P. W., Ashton, J. C., & Chase, J. G. (2012). Microglial encapsulation of motor neurons in models of neuropathic pain: A confound in pain assessment? European Journal of Pain, 16(3), 459-460. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2011.00101.x

^ Top of page

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Ashton, J. C., Zheng, Y., Darlington, C., Baek, J.-H., & Smith, P. F. (2014). Cannabinoid CB2 receptor immunolabelling in the healthy brain—still a live possibility. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology, 387(3), 301. doi: 10.1007/s00210-013-0948-y

^ Top of page

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Maggo, S. D. S., Mockett, B. G., & Ashton, J. C. (2012). The effects of chronic statin administration: Assessment of hippocampal spatial memory and long term potentiation in area CA1. Proceedings of the Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci). (pp. 24-25). Retrieved from http://www.medscinz.co.nz/QRW2012%20MedSci%20Abstracts.pdf

Ashton, J. C., Mockett, B., & Maggo, S. D. S. (2012). Cholesterol lowering through HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) impairs long term potentiation and induces anxiety in guinea pigs. Proceedings of the Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS) Annual Scientific Meeting. (pp. 78). Retrieved from http://www.ans.org.au/ans-annual-conference/

More publications...