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Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Dr. Peter J. Syapin

Professor of Pharmacology
Ph.D., 1977, University of California at Irvine

Drug-induced Alterations in Neuroinflammatory Responses: Relevance to Substance Use Disorders.

The overall focus of this laboratory is to understand how the process of neuroinflammation impacts brain function as it relates to substance use disorders; e.g., chronic  drug use, alcoholism, and drug addictions. Neuroinflammation is a response involving mainly the microglia and astrocytes. It occurs most readily after brain injury, but is also prominent  in neurological and psychiatric diseases. As we learn more about neuroinflammation it is becoming clearer that the mediators of neuroinflammation signaling, cytokines, chemokines and trophic factors, are also involved in normal brain functions. The Syapin Lab uses several approaches to understand how drugs of abuse affect neuroinflammatory signaling by glial cells. Studies are conducted under both  in vivo and in vitro conditions. Recent projects include: (1) Effects of neuroimmune-modulatory drugs on high alcohol drinking;( 2) role of microglia in high alcohol drinking; (3) Neuroinflammation and in vivo alcohol brain damage; (4) fMRI effects of binge drinking in young adults.The Syapin Lab has experience with numerous molecular experimental techniques, including transfection of rodent and human cells with promoter-luciferase reporter gene constructs to measure transcription, electrophoretic mobility shift assays to study transcription factors, transfection with siRNA to  knock-down gene expression,  quantitative real-time PCR to measure mRNA expression and stability, and Western blotting for gene product determinations. Cellular approaches used include glial and neuronal primary cell cultures, immunocytochemistry, and transmembrane cell migration assays. Whole animal studies use behavioral assays, analysis of blood and cerebrospinal fluid, and brain immunohistochemistry.

The Syapin Lab is also a component laboratory of the South Plains Alcohol and Addiction Research consortium (see link below).

Link to: SPAARC

Representative Recent Publications

Sanchez, A.C., Davis, R.L., and Syapin, P.J., Identification of cis-regulatory regions necessary for robust NOS2 promoter activity in glial cells: Indirect role of NF-kB. J. Neurochem. 86: 1379-1390, 2003

Davis, R.L. And Syapin, P.J., Acute ethanol exposure modulates expression of inducible nitric-oxide synthase in human astroglia: Evidence for a transcriptional mechanism. Alcohol, 32: 195-202, 2004

Davis, R.L. and Syapin, P.J., Chronic ethanol inhibits CXC chemokine ligand 10 production in human A172 astroglia and astroglial-mediated leukocyte chemotaxis. Neurosci. Lett. 362: 220-225, 2004

Davis, R.L. and Syapin, P.J., Ethanol increases nuclear factor-?B activity in human astroglial cells. Neurosci. Lett. 371: 128-132, 2004

Syapin, P.J., Hickey, W.F. and Kane, C.J.M., Alcohol brain damage and neuroinflammation: Is there a connection? Alcoholism: Clin. Exp. Res. 29, 1080-1089,2005

Davis, R.L. and Syapin, P.J., Interactions of alcohol and nitric-oxide synthase in the brain, Brain Res. Rev. 49: 494-504, 2005

Karri, SriTulasi, Dertien, J.S., Stocco, D.M., and Syapin, P.J., StAR protein expression and pregnenolone synthesis in rat astrocytes, J. Neuroendocrinol. 19: 860-869, 2007

Sanchez, A.C., Davis, R.L., and Syapin, P.J. The Oct DNA motif participates in the alcohol inhibition of the inducible nitric oxide synthase gene promoter in rat C6 glioma cells. Brain Res. 1179: 16-27, 2007

Syapin, P.J., Regulation of heme oxygenase-1 for treatment of neuroinflammation and brain disorders. Brit. J. Pharmacol. 155: 623–640, 2008

Agrawal, R.G., Hewetson, A., George, C.M.,Syapin, P.J., and Bergeson, S.E., Minocycline reduces ethanol drinking. Brain Behav. Immun., 25: S165-S169, 2011

Syapin, P.J., Brain Damage and Alcohol Dependence: How one may influence the other. Alcohol. Treat. Q., 29: 132-145, 2011

For further information contact Dr. Peter J. Syapin