Published September 1, 2017
Allen Hoste, working under the guidance of mentor Tracey A. Ignatowski, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, tied for first place in the undergraduate poster award at the New York Pharmacology Society (NYPS) sixth annual scientific meeting.
Hoste, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacology and toxicology, is lead author for a poster titled “Antidepressant Regulation of Macrophage-Derived TNF Production.”
“My research focuses on how antidepressant drugs regulate macrophage production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF),” Hoste says. “We wanted to look at these drugs because they’re prescribed a lot.”
“He’s taking the macrophages — which are an immune cell population — out from the paritoneal cavities of male and female rats, plating them in-vitro in a culture dish and then adding the antidepressants in to see their direct effects on TNF production,” Ignatowski says. “That hasn’t been done, as far as we know, for macrophages taken from animals experiencing neuropathic pain.”
Ignatowski says Hoste compared the responses he saw in TNF production from those cells taken from animals in neuropathic pain to cells that were taken from sham animals or from control animals. Additionally, macrophages were cultured in the absence or presence of LPS (lipopolysaccharides) — a gram negative bacterial wall component — which activates the macrophages and makes them primed to fight. They then dump out an abundance of TNF, which can then be measured.
“He showed that antidepressant regulation of TNF production from macrophages taken from the animals in pain looked very similar to those from control animals that had the antidepressant and LPS added to them, so they had similar amounts of TNF production,” says Ignatowski, a co-author of the study.
Hoste’s research uncovered some interesting data.
“I didn’t expect to see such a difference between male and female animals. Now in retrospect, it seems obvious,” Hoste says. “We assume that if you give a drug to a male or a female, they would respond the same. However, we found a few examples where the antidepressant regulation of macrophage-derived TNF production — with and without the addition of LPS — flipped between the male and female animals. That was surprising.”
Hoste says the idea for the project occurred to him in October when he came across information about the Honors College Research and Creativity Fund. He was awarded funding of $2,798 in November and started establishing his baseline animals in January.
Zach M. LaMacchia, MA, research instructor in pathology and anatomical sciences, is also a co-author of the study.
The NYPS — a chapter of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics — had its meeting in May at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts.