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Opioid Use and the Gut-Brain Axis: A Literature Review

O'Brien, Ireland (2024) Opioid Use and the Gut-Brain Axis: A Literature Review. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Opioid use disorder (OUD), formerly known as opioid misuse, is defined as the use of opioids in any way other than prescribed. Opioid use disorder is accompanied by an increased risk of acquiring infectious diseases. The opioid crisis has exhibited a steady increase in severity since the start of opioid prescription in the late 1990s. This substantial increase in opioid use has resulted in increased rates of infectious diseases, posing a significant public health challenge. Many studies have focused research on the psychosocial factors that influence such transmission within this population, yet limited research at the biological level exists on how this behavior increases transmission risk. This review aims to delineate the different mechanisms through which opioid use impacts dopamine concentrations in the body and how this influences immune function and development of pathological diseases. A detailed literature search using OVID search engine was conducted to construct a broad sample of relevant publications for review and to characterize prospective associations between key concepts discussed in the collective work. The review of collective literature revealed multifunctional effects of dopamine in both neuroimmune and gastrointestinal immune systems. Dopamine may be stored, synthesized, and released by many immune cells and acts through dopamine receptors present on these cells to exert immunomodulatory effects. Through dopamine receptor-mediated pathways, dopamine has exhibited the ability to influence immune cell differentiation, mediate cytokine and chemokine secretion, regulate intracellular cAMP production, induce transendothelial migration of leukocytes, and influence cell survival through pro- or anti-apoptotic functions. This review highlights the multifaceted nature of dopamine and its potential function as an intermediate component between opioid use and the gut-brain axis. The literature reviewed poses implications for future research, practice, and health and disease.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
O'Brien, Irelandiro7@pitt.eduiro7
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKrier, Sarahsek29@pitt.edusek29UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMailliard, Robbierbm19@pitt.edurbm19UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMartinson, Jeremyjmartins@pitt.edujmartinsUNSPECIFIED
Date: 3 January 2024
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 44
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2024 14:41
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2024 14:41


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