Methamphetamine alters blood brain barrier protein expression in mice, facilitating central nervous system infection by neurotropic Cryptococcus neoformans

Eliseo Eugenin, Jade M. Greco, Susana Frases, Joshua D. Nosanchuk, Luis R. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine (METH) is a drug of abuse that is a potent and highly addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a unique interface that in part functions to prevent microbial invasion of the CNS. The effects of METH on brain vasculature have not been studied extensively. We hypothesized that METH alters the BBB integrity, increasing susceptibility to CNS infection. Using a murine model of METH administration, we demonstrated that METH alters BBB integrity and modifies the expression of tight junction and adhesion molecules. Additionally, we showed that BBB disruption accelerates transmigration of the neurotropic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans into the brain parenchyma after systemic infection. Furthermore, METH-treated mice displayed increased mortality as compared to untreated animals. Our findings provide novel evidence of the impact of METH abuse on the integrity of the cells that comprise the BBB and protect the brain from infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-704
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Blood brain barrier
  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Methamphetamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy

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