Howard Fields, MD, PhD

Professor in Residence
Neurology

Howard Fields received his MD and PhD in Neuroscience at Stanford in 1965-66. After Internal Medicine training at Bellevue Hospital in New York, he spent three years as a research neurologist at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Following clinical training in neurology at the Boston City Hospital Service of Harvard Medical School in 1972, he joined the faculty of the University of California San Francisco. Fields major interests are in nervous system mechanisms of pain and substance abuse with a focus on how endogenous opioids contribute to these mechanisms. He was a founder of the UCSF pain management center and has made major contributions to understanding and treating neuropathic pain. His group was the first to demonstrate the clinical effectiveness of opioids for neuropathic pain and of topical lidocaine for post-herpetic neuralgia. In laboratory studies he discovered and elucidated a pain modulating neural circuit that is required for opioids to produce analgesia. He also discovered that placebo analgesia is blocked by an opioid antagonist. Recently, his laboratory has discovered nerve cells in the striatum that selectively encode the magnitude of a reward. They have also shown how the neurotransmitter dopamine contributes to motivation and reward based choice. Current work is focused on the neurobiology of opioid reward.

Publications: 

A deeper dive into top-down control of pain and itch.

Brain : a journal of neurology

Fields HL

Pain modulates dopamine neurons via a spinal-parabrachial-mesencephalic circuit.

Nature neuroscience

Yang H, de Jong JW, Cerniauskas I, Peck JR, Lim BK, Gong H, Fields HL, Lammel S

A Midbrain Circuit that Mediates Headache Aversiveness in Rats.

Cell reports

Waung MW, Margolis EB, Charbit AR, Fields HL

Endogenous opioid activity in the anterior cingulate cortex is required for relief of pain.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Navratilova E, Xie JY, Meske D, Qu C, Morimura K, Okun A, Arakawa N, Ossipov M, Fields HL, Porreca F

Understanding opioid reward.

Trends in neurosciences

Fields HL, Margolis EB

Direct bidirectional µ-opioid control of midbrain dopamine neurons.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Margolis EB, Hjelmstad GO, Fujita W, Fields HL

Neuroscience. More pain; less gain.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Fields HL

Parceling human accumbens into putative core and shell dissociates encoding of values for reward and pain.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Baliki MN, Mansour A, Baria AT, Huang L, Berger SE, Fields HL, Apkarian AV

Capturing the aversive state of cephalic pain preclinically.

Annals of neurology

De Felice M, Eyde N, Dodick D, Dussor GO, Ossipov MH, Fields HL, Porreca F

Catechol-O-methyltransferase genotype modulates opioid release in decision circuitry.

Clinical and translational science

Mitchell JM, O'Neil JP, Jagust WJ, Fields HL

Opioid modulation of ventral pallidal afferents to ventral tegmental area neurons.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Hjelmstad GO, Xia Y, Margolis EB, Fields HL

Pain relief produces negative reinforcement through activation of mesolimbic reward-valuation circuitry.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Navratilova E, Xie JY, Okun A, Qu C, Eyde N, Ci S, Ossipov MH, King T, Fields HL, Porreca F

Ventral tegmental area glutamate neurons: electrophysiological properties and projections.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Hnasko TS, Hjelmstad GO, Fields HL, Edwards RH

Identification of rat ventral tegmental area GABAergic neurons.

PloS one

Margolis EB, Toy B, Himmels P, Morales M, Fields HL

Dopamine, corticostriatal connectivity, and intertemporal choice.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Kayser AS, Allen DC, Navarro-Cebrian A, Mitchell JM, Fields HL

Corticostriatal functional connectivity predicts transition to chronic back pain.

Nature neuroscience

Baliki MN, Petre B, Torbey S, Herrmann KM, Huang L, Schnitzer TJ, Fields HL, Apkarian AV

Varenicline decreases alcohol consumption in heavy-drinking smokers.

Psychopharmacology

Mitchell JM, Teague CH, Kayser AS, Bartlett SE, Fields HL

Alcohol consumption induces endogenous opioid release in the human orbitofrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens.

Science translational medicine

Mitchell JM, O'Neil JP, Janabi M, Marks SM, Jagust WJ, Fields HL

Prefrontal cortex mediates extinction of responding by two distinct neural mechanisms in accumbens shell.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Ghazizadeh A, Ambroggi F, Odean N, Fields HL

Engagement of descending inhibition from the rostral ventromedial medulla protects against chronic neuropathic pain.

Pain

De Felice M, Sanoja R, Wang R, Vera-Portocarrero L, Oyarzo J, King T, Ossipov MH, Vanderah TW, Lai J, Dussor GO, Fields HL, Price TJ, Porreca F

Nucleus accumbens medium spiny neurons target non-dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Xia Y, Driscoll JR, Wilbrecht L, Margolis EB, Fields HL, Hjelmstad GO

Interaction between family history of alcoholism and Locus of Control in the opioid regulation of impulsive responding under the influence of alcohol.

Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research

Altamirano LJ, Fields HL, D'Esposito M, Boettiger CA

Roles of nucleus accumbens core and shell in incentive-cue responding and behavioral inhibition.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Ambroggi F, Ghazizadeh A, Nicola SM, Fields HL

Reliability in the identification of midbrain dopamine neurons.

PloS one

Margolis EB, Coker AR, Driscoll JR, Lemaître AI, Fields HL

Isolating event-related neuronal responses by deconvolution.

Journal of neurophysiology

Ghazizadeh A, Fields HL, Ambroggi F

A pause in nucleus accumbens neuron firing is required to initiate and maintain feeding.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Krause M, German PW, Taha SA, Fields HL

Unmasking the tonic-aversive state in neuropathic pain.

Nature neuroscience

King T, Vera-Portocarrero L, Gutierrez T, Vanderah TW, Dussor G, Lai J, Fields HL, Porreca F

Now or Later? An fMRI study of the effects of endogenous opioid blockade on a decision-making network.

Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior

Boettiger CA, Kelley EA, Mitchell JM, D'Esposito M, Fields HL

Delta-opioid receptor expression in the ventral tegmental area protects against elevated alcohol consumption.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Margolis EB, Fields HL, Hjelmstad GO, Mitchell JM

Naltrexone aversion and treatment efficacy are greatest in humans and rats that actively consume high levels of alcohol.

Neurobiology of disease

Mitchell JM, Bergren LJ, Chen KS, Rowbotham MC, Fields HL

Midbrain dopamine neurons: projection target determines action potential duration and dopamine D(2) receptor inhibition.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Margolis EB, Mitchell JM, Ishikawa J, Hjelmstad GO, Fields HL

Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex contribution to behavioral and nucleus accumbens neuronal responses to incentive cues.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Ishikawa A, Ambroggi F, Nicola SM, Fields HL

Immediate reward bias in humans: fronto-parietal networks and a role for the catechol-O-methyltransferase 158(Val/Val) genotype.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Boettiger CA, Mitchell JM, Tavares VC, Robertson M, Joslyn G, D'Esposito M, Fields HL

Cue-evoked encoding of movement planning and execution in the rat nucleus accumbens.

The Journal of physiology

Taha SA, Nicola SM, Fields HL

Understanding how opioids contribute to reward and analgesia.

Regional anesthesia and pain medicine

Fields HL

The Asp40 mu-opioid receptor allele does not predict naltrexone treatment efficacy in heavy drinkers.

Journal of clinical psychopharmacology

Mitchell JM, Fields HL, White RL, Meadoff TM, Joslyn G, Rowbotham MC

Ventral tegmental area neurons in learned appetitive behavior and positive reinforcement.

Annual review of neuroscience

Fields HL, Hjelmstad GO, Margolis EB, Nicola SM

Cholecystokinin is necessary for the expression of morphine conditioned place preference.

Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior

Mitchell JM, Bergren LJ, Chen KS, Fields HL

Endogenous opioid blockade and impulsive responding in alcoholics and healthy controls.

Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Mitchell JM, Tavares VC, Fields HL, D'Esposito M, Boettiger CA

The ventral tegmental area revisited: is there an electrophysiological marker for dopaminergic neurons?

The Journal of physiology

Margolis EB, Lock H, Hjelmstad GO, Fields HL

Endogenous opioids encode relative taste preference.

The European journal of neuroscience

Taha SA, Norsted E, Lee LS, Lang PD, Lee BS, Woolley JD, Fields HL

Isolating the modulatory effect of expectation on pain transmission: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Keltner JR, Furst A, Fan C, Redfern R, Inglis B, Fields HL

Kappa opioids selectively control dopaminergic neurons projecting to the prefrontal cortex.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Margolis EB, Lock H, Chefer VI, Shippenberg TS, Hjelmstad GO, Fields HL

Inhibitions of nucleus accumbens neurons encode a gating signal for reward-directed behavior.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Taha SA, Fields HL

Impulsive responding in alcoholics.

Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research

Mitchell JM, Fields HL, D'Esposito M, Boettiger CA

Treatment response in antidepressant-naïve postherpetic neuralgia patients: double-blind, randomized trial.

The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society

Rowbotham MC, Reisner LA, Davies PS, Fields HL

Fibromyalgia from the perspective of neuropathic pain.

The Journal of rheumatology. Supplement

Dworkin RH, Fields HL

Encoding of palatability and appetitive behaviors by distinct neuronal populations in the nucleus accumbens.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Taha SA, Fields HL

Both kappa and mu opioid agonists inhibit glutamatergic input to ventral tegmental area neurons.

Journal of neurophysiology

Margolis EB, Hjelmstad GO, Bonci A, Fields HL

State-dependent opioid control of pain.

Nature reviews. Neuroscience

Fields H

A single cocaine exposure enhances both opioid reward and aversion through a ventral tegmental area-dependent mechanism.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Kim JA, Pollak KA, Hjelmstad GO, Fields HL

The ventral tegmental area is required for the behavioral and nucleus accumbens neuronal firing responses to incentive cues.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Yun IA, Wakabayashi KT, Fields HL, Nicola SM

Peptidergic nociceptors of both trigeminal and dorsal root ganglia express serotonin 1D receptors: implications for the selective antimigraine action of triptans.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Potrebic S, Ahn AH, Skinner K, Fields HL, Basbaum AI

Kappa-opioid agonists directly inhibit midbrain dopaminergic neurons.

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Margolis EB, Hjelmstad GO, Bonci A, Fields HL

Capsaicin evoked pain and allodynia in post-herpetic neuralgia.

Pain

Petersen KL, Fields HL, Brennum J, Sandroni P, Rowbotham MC

Comments on Thurston and Randich.

Pain

Fields HL, Heinricher MM