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Research of Michael Ohene-Nyako, MHS

Michael Ohene-Nyako, BSc, MHS, is a graduate student in the Pharmacology Program. He is conducting his dissertation research in the laboratory of T. Celeste Napier, PhD.

Current Project

PPARy-MM9 signaling and regulation of gut and brain barriers in models of HIV infection and methamphetamine abuse comorbidity

Gut pathology is prevalent in HIV-infected individuals irrespective of antiretroviral therapy or HIV serostatus. This may reflect persistent viral reservoirs in the gut that continue to release HIV proteins. The role of the gut in the pathogenesis and progression of brain pathology has gained attention in recent years; however, little is known about the mechanism by which the gut is impaired by HIV exposure. A compromised gut barrier allows toxic factors normally retained in the gut to enter systemic circulation, increase systemic inflammation, impair the blood-brain barrier, and promote neuroAIDS disorders. NeuroAIDS pathology is exaggerated by substance use disorders, in general, and methamphetamine abuse, in particular. This project explores the neurobiology of this exaggeration.

The research has considerable public health and translational relevance. First, it will provide new mechanistic understanding of consequences of the HIV/AIDS and methamphetamine abuse comorbidity on the gut and brain. Additionally, it will provide a basis for identifying novel therapeutic targets and treatments that act on gut and brain barriers to diminish brain and gut pathologies of the comorbidity.


Peer-Reviewed Reports

Ohene-Nyako M,  Persons AL, Napier TC (2018). Region-specific changes in markers of neuroplasticity revealed in HIV-1 transgenic rats by low dose methamphetamine. GBrain Struct. Func., 223 (7), pp 3503-3513.

Persons AL, Bradaric BD, Dodiya HB, Ohene-Nyako M, Forsyth CB, Keshavarzian A, Shaikh M, Napier TC (2018). Colon dysregulation in methamohetamine self-adminstering HIV-1 transgenic rats. Plos One, 13 (1):e0190078


Ohene-Nyako M, Persons A, Napier TC (2018). Involvement of MMP-9 and ERK in colon barrier dysfunction in meth self-adminstering HIV-1 trangenic rat. Abstract: Journal of NeuroVirology. 24 (Supp 1), p 62. 

Ohene-Nyako, M, Persons, A., Napier, T.C. (2017). Self-administered methamphetamine by HIV-1 transgenic rats alters markers of neuronal activity and plasticity in the limbic brain. Abstract: Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 12 (Supp. 1), pp 37.