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Rita Loch-Caruso

Rita Loch-Caruso, Ph.D.

Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Professor, Program in the Environment, LS&A

6618 SPH Tower      Vcard icon
1415 Washington Heights
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029

Office: (734) 936-1256; Fax: (734) 763-8095

E-mail: rlc@umich.edu

Website(s): Loch-Caruso Lab website

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Summary

Rita Loch-Caruso is a toxicologist with a research focus in female reproductive toxicology and, in particular, mechanisms of toxicity related to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth. In addition to university-related activities, she has served on numerous local, state and national committees including the City of Ann Arbor Environmental Commission, NIH grant review panels, and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Understanding Premature Birth and Assuring Healthy Outcomes.

She is a participating faculty member in the Environmental Toxicology, Reproductive Sciences, Pharmacological Sciences, and Cellular and Molecular Basis of Systems and Integrative Biology graduate and postdoctoral training programs.

Courses Taught

EHS623: Mechanisms of Reproductive Toxicology
ENVIRON 310: Environmental Chemicals and Diseases


Ph.D., Toxicology, University of Cincinnati, 1982
B.A., Psychology, University of Cincinnati, 1976
B.S., Biology, University of Cincinnati, 1976

Research Interests & Projects

> > Loch-Caruso Lab - Pollutants and Parturition (Leader)

The Loch-Caruso Lab is interested in toxicants as potential risks for normal and timely childbirth. Working with cell, tissue and animal experimental models, our work focuses on mechanisms by which environmental chemical exposures modify cellular and physiological processess involved in parturition. Using multip-disciplinary approaches that span molecular biology to human subjects research, current studies focus on toxicant- and infection-stimulated inflammation.... More >>

Pollutants and Parturition 

> > Xi Lab - Biofilms, Water Quality, and Human Health (Member)

Research in the Xi Lab mainly focuses on biofilms, water quality, and human health. We use molecular and genomic tools to understand molecular mechanisms of persistence and resistance of pathogens in natural, engineered and industrial environments; transmission routes of pathogens from environments to hosts; and their impacts on health of general public and industrial workers. We are particularly interested in the role of biofilms in these processes. In addition, we use advanced imaging tools, high throughput screening techniques, and nanotechnology ... More >>

Biofilms, Water Quality, and Human Health 

> > Characterization and Validation of a Human Gestational Membrane Transwell Culture System (Principal Investigator)

The main objective is to characterize human gestational membrane cell and tissue culture systems for the study of toxicant-stimulated inflammatory responses.... More >>

Characterization and Validation of a Human Gestational Membrane Transwell Culture System 

> > Inflammatory responses of human gestational membranes (Principal Investigator)

The objectives are to determine the mechanisms and downstream consequences of inflammatory responses in human gestational membranes exposed in vitro to environmental pollutants. ... More >>


> > PBDE concentrations in human gestational tissues (Principal Investigator)

The aim is to quantify partitioning of PBDEs into human placenta, extra-placental maternal/fetal membranes and umbilical cord blood in the general population.... More >>

PBDE concentrations in human gestational tissues 

> > Mechanisms of modification of uterine contraction by environmental chemicals (Principal Investigator)

The elucidation of mechanisms by which environmental chemicals modify uterine contractility using uterine smooth muscle cell cultures and and rat uterine strips suspended in muscle baths.... More >>

Mechanisms of modification of uterine contraction by environmental chemicals 

> > Phthalate-stimulated inflammatory responses in human gestational membranes (Principal Investigator)

Phthalates are common pollutants used as plasticizers in polyvinyl plastics, as fragrance stabilizers in personal care products, and as ingredients of coatings for pharmaceuticals and varnishes, among other uses. Recent studies by the US Centers for Disease Control show increasing and widespread exposure to phthalates in the US population.... More >>

Phthalate-stimulated inflammatory responses in human gestational membranes 

Selected Publications

Search PubMed for publications by Rita Loch-Caruso >>

Brant, K., Guan, W., Tithof, T. and Caruso, R. Loch (May, 2006). Gestation age-related increase in 50 kDa rat uterine calcium-independent phospholipase A2 expression influences uterine sensitivity to polychlorinated biphenyl stimulation Biology of Reproduction, 874-880.

Chung, D. and Caruso, R. Loch (2005). 2,2'-Dichlorobiphenyl decreases amplitude and synchronization of uterine contractions through MAPK-mediated phosphorylation of GJA1 (Connexin43) and inhibition of myometrial gap junctions. Biology of Reproduction, In Press.

Brant, K. and Caruso, R. Loch (2005). Late gestation rat myometrial cells express multiple isoforms of phospholipase A2 that mediate PCB 50-induced release of arachidonic acid with coincident prostaglandin production. Toxicological Sciences, In Press.

Loch-Caruso, R., Upham, B.L., Harris, C. and Trosko, K.E. (2005). Biphasic lindane-induced oxidation of glutathione and inhibition of gap junctions in myometrial cells. Toxicological Sciences, 86, 417-426.

Loch-Caruso, R., Upham, B.L., Harris, C. and Trosko, J.E. (2005). Divergent roles for glutathione in lindane-induced acute and delayed-onset inhibition of rat myometrial gap junctions. Toxicological Sciences, 85, 694-702.

Loch-Caruso, R., Galvez, M.M., Brant, K. and Chung D. (2004). Cell and toxicant specific phosphorylation of conexin43:effects of lindane and TPA on rat myometrial and WB-F344 liver cell gap junctions. Cell Biol Toxicol, In Press.

Loch-Caruso, R., Criswell, K.A., Grindatti, C.M. and Brant, K.A. (2003). Sustained inhibition of rat myometrial gap junctions and contractions by lindane. Reprod Biol Endocrinol, 1, 62.

Wang, C-T. and Loch-Caruso, R. (2002). Phospholipase-mediated inhibition of sponteanous oscillatory uterine contractions by lindane in vitro. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 182, 136-147.