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Research interests

Dr. Patricia McLaughlin’s research focuses on the Opioid Growth Factor (OGF) – OGF receptor (OGFr) pathway and mechanisms of action in homeostasis and disease. Early collaborative work with Dr. Ian Zagon resulted in the identification of [Met5]-enkephalin as the endogenous ligand for the OGF-OGFr pathway. Subsequently, a new nuclear-associated receptor was identified and termed OGFr. One group in the laboratory has characterized and cloned the OGFr gene in human, mouse and rat. Protein chemistry studies, along with structural biology, determined that the OGFr is a uniquely unstructured nuclear receptor. The mechanism of action was determined to involve inhibition of DNA synthesis with the specific mechanistic pathway involving upregulation of cyclin-dependent inhibitory kinases p16 and p21. OGF action is receptor-mediated, reversible, and not associated with apoptosis/necrosis. OGF is tissue non-specific and has been identified in proliferating cells and tissues derived from all 3 dermal layers.

Currently, the lab’s work is translational, focusing on disease-based pathways that are characterized by a perturbation in the OGF-OGFr axis. Consequences of receptor blockade of the OGF-OGFr axis are being studied with an emphasis on the etiology and treatment of complications (e.g., delayed wound healing, dry eye, impaired bone composition) arising from long-term diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2). These investigations (humans and animal models) focus on treatment options and utilize confocal microscopy, animal surgery, immunohistochemistry and tissue culture.

In another series of studies, the lab is testing the hypothesis that down-regulation of the inhibitory OGF peptide plays a role in multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. The lab is also currently validating serum biomarkers and cytokine expression profiles that correspond to changes in behavior and MRI imaging that may be related to disease progression and response to therapy. The clinical and animal research is both qualitative and quantitative in design and is supported by NIH, ADA, TSF (PA) and foundations.

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Opioid Analgesics Medicine & Life Sciences
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Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins Medicine & Life Sciences
Enkephalins Medicine & Life Sciences
Opioid Receptors Medicine & Life Sciences
Narcotic Antagonists Medicine & Life Sciences
Growth Medicine & Life Sciences
Methadone Medicine & Life Sciences

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Projects 1994 2000

Opioid Analgesics
Naltrexone
Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
Opioid Receptors
Autoradiography

Research Output 1976 2019

Blockade of the OGF-OGFr pathway in diabetic bone

Titunick, M. B., Lewis, G., Cain, J., Zagon, I. & McLaughlin, P., Jan 1 2019, In : Connective Tissue Research. 60, 6, p. 521-529 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Naltrexone
Opioid Analgesics
Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
Bone
Bone and Bones
1 Citation (Scopus)

Efficacy and safety of a novel naltrexone treatment for dry eye in type 1 diabetes

McLaughlin, P., Sassani, J., Titunick, M. B. & Zagon, I., Jan 28 2019, In : BMC Ophthalmology. 19, 1, 35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Naltrexone
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Safety
Ophthalmic Solutions
Tears
1 Citation (Scopus)
Autoimmune Experimental Encephalomyelitis
Naltrexone
Opioid Analgesics
Multiple Sclerosis
Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
1 Citation (Scopus)

Intermittent blockade of OGFr and treatment of autoimmune disorders

Zagon, I. & McLaughlin, P., Dec 1 2018, In : Experimental Biology and Medicine. 243, 17-18, p. 1323-1330 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Naltrexone
Enkephalins
Autoimmune Experimental Encephalomyelitis
Opioid Analgesics
Multiple Sclerosis
7 Citations (Scopus)
Encephalomyelitis
Autoimmune Experimental Encephalomyelitis
Enkephalins
Opioid Analgesics
Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins