Methamphetamine Administration Targets Multiple Immune Subsets and Induces Phenotypic Alterations Suggestive of Immunosuppression

Robert Harms, Brenda Morsey, Craig W. Boyer, Howard S. Fox, Nora Sarvetnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Methamphetamine (Meth) is a widely abused stimulant and its users are at increased risk for multiple infectious diseases. To determine the impact of meth on the immune system, we utilized a murine model that simulates the process of meth consumption in a typical addict. Our phenotypic analysis of leukocytes from this dose escalation model revealed that meth affected key immune subsets. Meth administration led to a decrease in abundance of natural killer (NK) cells and the remaining NK cells possessed a phenotype suggesting reduced responsiveness. Dendritic cells (DCs) and Gr-1high monocytes/macrophages were also decreased in abundance while Gr-1low monocytes/macrophages appear to show signs of perturbation. CD4 and CD8 T cell subsets were affected by methamphetamine, both showing a reduction in antigen-experienced subsets. CD4 T cells also exhibited signs of activation, with increased expression of CD150 on CD226-expressing cells and an expansion of KLRG1+, FoxP3- cells. These results exhibit that meth has the ability to disrupt immune homeostasis and impact key subsets of leukocytes which may leave users more vulnerable to pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere49897
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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