Faculty Mentor

Dr. Judith Ochrietor, Associate Professor

Faculty Mentor Department

Department of Biology


Immune cells undergo changes in gene expression and metabolism when activated by a foreign molecule. Although the changes are short-lived in response to an acute infection, they persist in disorders with underlying chronic inflammation. To understand how changes in gene expression relate to changes in metabolism, the expression of metabolic transporter proteins, was analyzed in response to chronic inflammation in a mouse monocyte cell line. Specifically, Glucose Transporter-1 (GLUT1), Monocarboxylate Transporter-1 (MCT1), Monocarboxylate Transporter-4 (MCT4), and Glutamate Aspartate Transporter (GLAST) were analyzed, and it was hypothesized that all the transporters would increase in expression in response to a prolonged inflammatory stimulus, when compared to control conditions. RAW 264.7 mouse monocytes were treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 1 mg/mL) or a similar volume of phosphate buffered saline (PBS) for 24 hours. The cells were fixed and subjected to immunocytochemical analyses. Relative fluorescence intensity was measured for the different treatment groups and compared statistically. It was determined that expression of GLUT1 and MCT4 increased in response to LPS, as compared to PBS, whereas MCT1 and GLAST decreased in response to LPS, as compared to PBS. Although the hypothesis was not supported, the data do reflect those of a study using human immune cells that were derived from diabetic patients. The data suggest that this cell-based system could represent the conditions of immune cells derived from humans with chronic inflammation and therefore be used for studies aimed at finding treatments for those conditions.