We generated an AAV vector expressing the human mu opioid receptor (huMOR) and are evaluating the role of huMOR in methamphetamine sensitization in mice. Our preliminary findings show that huMOR expression by an AAV vector in specific brain regions alters methamphetamine sensitization. We have submitted this work for publication and it is currently under review. We have also generated an AAV vector expressing the glutamate transporter (GLT-1) and demonstrated that it functional. We have ongoing work examining the ability of GLT-1 to reduce damage caused by ischemia using a rat model of stroke. The protection against ischemia was accompanied by a decrease in ischemia-induced glutamate overflow as measured by microdialysis and this study was published this year. AAV-GLT-1 was created to modulate the levels of extracellular glutamate. We have begun experiments examining the ability of excess GLT-1 overexpression by AAV to reduce excitoxicity by glutamate. We have also begun examining the GLT-1 overexpression in specfic brain regions for alterations to methamphetamine sensitization. These experiments are ongoing. Lastly, we collaborated with Dr. Bruce Hope (NIDA IRP) to the development of assay to isolate neurons from rodent brain using FACS to understand the cell-specific induced changes following cocaine exposure.
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