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East Carolina University, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Brody School of Medicine


Jared M. Brown​Concern about the use of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) has increased significantly in recent years due to potentially hazardous impacts on human health. Mast cells are critical for innate and adaptive immune responses, often modulating allergic and pathogenic conditions. Mast cells act in response to environmental danger signals such as IL-33 and the IL-1 like receptor ST2. We have examined the involvement of mast cells and the IL-33/ST2 axis in adverse responses to ENMs. Mice with normal mast cell populations exhibit significant ENM directed systemic and pulmonary inflammation, fibrosis, altered lung function and exacerbated cardiac IR injury. In contrast, these toxicological effects of ENMs were not observed in mice deficient in mast cells or mice with mast cells unable to respond to IL-33. Lastly, we have established that certain ENMs are capable of inducing mast cell activation in vitro. Our findings establish for the first time that mast cells orchestrate adverse immune effects to ENMs giving insight into a previously unknown mechanism of toxicity...

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Sharonda LeBlanc​Sharonda recently defended her Ph.D. dissertation, entitiled: "Electric field dependent spectroscopy of single nanocrystal systems" in front of a packed audience. She completed the work under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Moyer (Physics and Optical Science) and Dr. Marcus Jones (Chemistry) and will soon be starting a postdoctoral position with Dr. Gloria Elliot (Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science) at UNC Charlotte.

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