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Analysis of epithelial immune responses to drugs of abuse
Analysis of Epithelial Immune Responses to Drugs of Abuse
This project focuses on how the immune responses of epithelial cells lining the mucosal surfaces of the body are affected by drugs of abuse. The researchers use porcine intestinal epithelial cells to assess the effects of opiates on the intestinal immune response to Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Escherichia coli infections. They also use human vaginal epithelial cells to assess the effects of norepinephrine on the immune response to a bacterial superantigen, toxic shock syndrome toxin-1, made by Staphylococcus aureus. The effects of norepinephrine are significant because psychostimulant drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, act to increase levels of available norepinephrine throughout the body. By studying the peripheral effects of drugs of abuse, the researchers can determine how these drugs potentially skew the initial immune response to pathogens and their exotoxins.