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-1(high) monocytes/macrophages were also decreased in abundance while Gr-1(low) 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.
Animals, Disease Susceptibility, Flow Cytometry, Immunocompromised Host, Immunophenotyping, Lymphocytes, Macrophages, Male, Methamphetamine, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Models, Animal, Monocytes
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Harms, Robert Z.; Morsey, Brenda M.; Boyer, Craig W.; Fox, Howard S.; and Sarvetnick, Nora E., "Methamphetamine administration targets multiple immune subsets and induces phenotypic alterations suggestive of immunosuppression." (2012). Journal Articles: Regenerative Medicine. Paper 16.