Krista Stenger's Lab

Catecholamines such as norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine are typically associated with the endocrine and nervous systems. However, the discovery of these molecules in immune cells has opened a new area of research to determine their role in the immune response. Our lab is working to understand the interaction between catecholamines and macrophages which play important roles in both innate and acquired immunity. Specifically we are studying how the macrophages recognize and respond to the catecholamines.

As a new collaborative project with Dr. John Gupton in the chemistry department we have also been studying how polysubstituted pyrrole compounds alter macrophage function. These compounds have been developed as potential chemotherapeutic agents and they been shown to exhibit cytotoxic activity over a wide range of cancer cell lines.

Current Projects

  • Regulation of the expression of adrenergic receptors (bind catecholamines) on macrophages
  • Identification of transport molecules that permit macrophages to take up catecholamines from the environment and possibly store them within the cell
  • Mechanisms responsible for the effects of catecholamines on macrophage function
  • Effects of polysubstituted pyrrole compounds on macrophage function