College of Health and Human Services

Prof. Pizza Biographical Information

Francis X. Pizza, Ph.D.

Research Interest

            Our research focuses on the cellular and molecular processes that restores structure and function to skeletal muscle injured by physical activity and disease, and that facilitate muscle growth/hypertrophy after increased muscle use (e.g., resistance exercise). In particular, we seek to identify mechanisms through which components of the inflammatory response augment muscle repair/regeneration and muscle hypertrophy. Findings from our laboratory have identified a novel mechanism through which the inflammatory response regulates growth processes in skeletal muscle by demonstrating that adhesion molecules of the inflammatory response are critically important in restoring and enhancing the structure and function of skeletal muscle. Results from our studies will help define novel therapeutic targets that restore structure and function to injured muscles, and facilitate the maintenance and/or growth of skeletal muscle, particularly in older individuals and those with inflammatory muscle disease. Dr. Pizza’s research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Information on our research facilities can be found at the link below:

            Exercise Biology Laboratories


Ph.D.   Exercise Physiology.  The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, 1991

M.A.    Exercise Physiology. AdelphiUniversity, Garden City, New York, 1988

B.E.     Human Performance. The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, 1986

Professional Experience

2004 – Present    Professor, The University of Toledo, Dept. Kinesiology.
                           Toledo, OH.

 1998 - 2004       Associate Professor, The University of Toledo, Dept. Kinesiology. 
                           Toledo, OH.

 1997 - 1998      Associate Professor, Texas Christian University, Dept. of Kinesiology.
                          Fort Worth, Texas.

 1996 - 1997      Research Associate in Space Biology, University of California at Los
                           Angeles. Dept. of Physiological Science. Muscle Cell Biology Lab. 

1991 - 1996      Assistant Professor, Texas Christian University, Dept. of Kinesiology.
                          Fort Worth, Texas.

Selected Publications

Q Goh, CL Dearth, JT Corbett, P Pierre, DN Chadee, FX Pizza. Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 Expression by Skeletal Muscle Cells Augments Myogenesis. Experimental Cell Research 331:292-308, 2015.

 Dearth, CL, Q Goh, JS Marino, PA Cicinelli, MJ Torres-Palsa, P Pierre, RG Worth, FX Pizza. Skeletal muscle cells express ICAM-1 after muscle overload and ICAM-1 contributes to the ensuing hypertrophic response. Plos One 8(3): e58486, 2013.

 Peterson, JM, FX Pizza.  Cytokines derived from cultured skeletal muscle cells after mechanical strain promotes neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Journal of Applied Physiology 106: 130-137, 2009. 

Koh, TJ, FX Pizza.  Do inflammatory cells influence skeletal muscle hypertrophy?  Frontiers in Bioscience E1: 60-71, 2009. 

Marino, JS, B J Tausch, CL Dearth, MV Manacci, TJ McLoughlin, SJ Rakyta, MP. Linsenmayer,  FX. Pizza.  β2 integrins contribute to skeletal muscle hypertrophyin mice. American Journal of Physiology Cell Physiology295: C1026-C1036, 2008. 

Peterson, JM, K.D. Feeback, J.H. Baas, F.X. Pizza. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha promotes the accumulation of neutrophils and macrophages in skeletal muscle. Journal of  Applied. Physiology. 101: 1394-1399, 2006.       
Pizza, F.X., J. M. Peterson, J. H. Baas, and T.J. Koh. Interplay between neutrophils and skeletal muscle after exercise. What’s going on?  Physiology News 61: 32-33, 2005, 

Tsivitse, S.K., E. Mylona, J.M. Peterson, W.T. Gunning, and F.X. Pizza .  Mechanical loading and injury induce human myotubes to release neutrophil chemoattractants. American Journal of Physiology Cell Physiology 288: C721-C729, 2005. 

Pizza, F.X., J. M. Peterson, J. H. Baas, and T.J. Koh. Neutrophils contribute to muscle injury and impair its resolution after lengthening contractions in mice. Journal of Physiology (London) 562.3: 899-913, 2005. 

McLouglin, T.J., A.R. Snyder, and F.X. Pizza.  Aggressive application of monophasic high voltage stimulation provides a transitory reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness after injurious exercise. British Journal of Sports Medicine  38(6):725-729, 2004. 

McLoughlin, T.J., S.K. Tsivitse, J.A. Edwards, B.A. Aiken, and F.X.Pizza. Deferoxamine reduces and nitric oxide synthesis inhibition increases neutrophil-mediated myotube injury. Cell and Tissue Research 313: 313-319, 2003. 

Tsivitse, SK, T.J. McLoughlin, J. Peterson, E. Mylona, S.J. McGregor, and F.X. Pizza.

Downhill running in rats: influence on muscle inflammatory cells and MyoD protein

European Journal of Applied Physiology 90: 633-638, 2003

Koh, T.J., J. M. Petersen, F.X. Pizza, and S. V. Brooks. Passive stretches protect skeletal muscle from old and adult mice from lengthening contraction-induced injury. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences 58A (7): 592-597, 2003. 

McLoughlin, T.J., E. Mylona, T.A. Hornberger, K.A. Esser, F.X. Pizza. Inflammatory cells in rat skeletal muscle are elevated after electrically stimulated contractions. Journal of Applied Physiology 94: 876-882, 2003. 

Peterson, J.M., T.A. Trappe, E. Mylona, F. White, C.P. Lambert, W.J. Evans, and F.X. Pizza.  Ibuprofen and acetaminophen: effect on muscle inflammation after eccentric exercise in humans. Medicine Science Sports and Exercise 35(6): 892-896, 2003.

Pizza, F.X., T.J. Koh, S.J. McGregor, and S.V. Brooks. Muscle inflammatory cells following passive stretches, isometric contractions, and lengthening contractions. Journal of Applied Physiology 92: 1873-1878, 2002.

Frenette, J., M. St-Pierre, C. H. Cote, E. Mylona, and F. X. Pizza. Muscle impairment occurs rapidly and precedes inflammatory cell accumulation after mechanical loading. American Journal of  Physiology. 282: R351-R357, 2002. 

Pizza, F.X., T. McLoughlin, S. McGregor and W. Gunning.  Neutrophils injure cultured skeletal muscle myotubes. American Journal of  Physiology: Cell Physiolology 281: C335-C341, 2001.          

Pizza, F.X., H. Baylies, J.B. Mitchell.  Adaptation to eccentric exercise: Neutrophils and E-selectin during early recovery. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 26(3): 245-253, 2001.

 Pizza, F.X. D. Cavender, A. Stockard, H. Baylies, and A. Beighle.  Anti-inflammatory doses of ibuprofen: effect on neutrophils and exercise-induced muscle injury.  Int. J. Sports Med. 20: 98-102, 1999.

Pizza, F.X., I.J. Hernandez, and J.G. Tidball.  Nitric oxide synthase inhibition reduces muscle inflammation and necrosis in modified muscle use.  Journal of Leukocyte Biology 64: 427-433, 1998.

Mitchell, J.B., F.X. Pizza, A. Paquet, B.J. Davis, M.B. Forrest, and W.A. Braun.  The influence of carbohydrate status on immune cell numbers and lymphocyte proliferation before and after endurance exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 84(6): 1917-1925, 1998

Pizza, F.X., B.H. Davis, S.D. Henrickson, J.B. Mitchell, J.F. Pace, N. Bigelow, P. DiLauro, and T. Naglieri. Adaptation to eccentric exercise: effect on CD64 and CD11b/CD18 expression. Journal of Applied Physiology  80(1): 47-55,1996.

Pizza, F.X., M.G. Flynn, T. Sawyer, R.D. Starling, M. Boyle, and F.A. Andres.  Run Training vs. Cross Training: Effect of increased training on circulating leukocyte subsets. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 27(3):355-362, 1995.

Pizza, F.X., J.B. Mitchell, B. Davis, R.D. Starling, R. Holtz, and N. Bigelow.  Exercise-induced muscle damage: effect on circulating leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc. 27(3): 363-370, 1995


Contact Information

Francis X. Pizza, Ph.D.
Department of Kinesiology
Mail Stop # 119
The University of Toledo
2801 W. Bancroft St
Toledo, Ohio43606 

Voice: (419) 530-4178
FAX:   (419) 530-2477


Last Updated: 7/25/17