Martin Badov

Martin Badov

A Novel Method to Study Dopamine Transport and Synthesis in Regulatory T cells


Martin Badov, Adithya Gopinath, Phillip Mackie, Alyssa Nielsen, Kaitlyn Runner, Dominic Montas, Rachel Nikoloff-Baybel, Peter Gaskill, Habibeh Khoshbouei


Habibeh Khoshbouei


College of Medicine


<p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-family: ‘Arial’,sans-serif”>Since the 1980s, it has been reported that dopamine (DA) can modulate the activity of peripheral immune cells. However, relatively little is known about DA’ergic signaling in the immune system. Proteins involved in DA synthesis and transport have historically been studied to gain insight into how neurons communicate via DA. T cell dysfunction in the periphery is linked to neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). While DA neuron loss and insoluble plaque aggregation in the brain are the classical hallmarks of PD, yet patients also exhibit disrupted immune systems. For example, it has been shown that in PD, the peripheral immune cells is skewed towards a proinflammatory profile. Several groups have reported CNS-infiltrating T cells in PD. There are few optimized approaches to study DA machinery in lymphocytes, hindering our ability to investigate DA signaling in lymphocytes. To address this knowledge gap, we developed a flow cytometry assay to study the expression of the DA transporter (DAT) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in T cells. DAT is a membrane protein which uptakes DA from the extracellular space to terminate DA signaling, while TH catalyzes the rate limiting step in the synthesis of DA. We tailored this method for regulatory T cells (Tregs), a subset shown to be susceptible DA modulation. Using this assay we discovered Tregs express DAT and TH. We aim to investigate whether DAT and TH expressions in T cells changes in PD, and to determine whether these disruptions are the cause or consequence of PD. </span></p>


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