Regal Lab

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Dr.Jean RegalJean Regal, PhD

Professor, Pharmacology
Department of Biomedical Sciences

Director, Academic Health Center Duluth Women's Mentoring Program

See full bio

Research opportunities

M.S. and Ph.D. graduate opportunities in my lab may be pursued through the University of Minnesota graduate programs in Integrated Biosciences.

Funding

My lab is currently funded through the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of NIH.

Research Interests 

The overall goals of my research program involve understanding basic immune mechanisms of cardiopulmonary disease. I have a long-standing interest in the complement system as a mediator of adverse events in disease states such as anaphylaxis, asthma and most currently pregnancy-induced hypertension. These interests have also involved defining mechanisms of pulmonary immunotoxicity of small molecule workplace allergens such as trimellitic anhydride. My research approach involves experimentation at the molecular, biochemical and physiological levels using animal models of disease. Current research projects include:

Pregnancy-induced Hypertension
Preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy affect ~10% of all pregnancies in the United States, significantly impacting the health of both mother and child. The initiating event of preeclampsia involves impaired blood flow to the placenta and the end result for the mother is high blood pressure and protein in the urine, along with growth restriction in the fetus. During pregnancy, the immune system including the plasma complement system, is tightly regulated to allow fetal survival. In women with preeclampsia the complement system is excessively activated, and our long term goal is to determine the therapeutic utility of manipulating the complement system to prevent preeclampsia or minimize consequences for the mother and child. We hypothesized that complement system activation and white blood cell recruitment lead to hypertension in the mother and growth restriction in the fetus. Thus we are manipulating the complement system and white blood cell function in a model of placental ischemia induced high blood pressure to determine the critical mechanisms responsible for the adverse events.

Immunotoxicology and Occupational Asthma
Current evidence indicates that asthma is a syndrome and occurs by different mechanisms, depending on the allergen. Examining these mechanisms in detail in the research laboratory is crucial for the identification of the very best treatment for each individual in the clinical setting. My research in immunotoxicology uses measurements of inflammation and pulmonary function along with RNA expression analysis and microarray technology to define differences in effector mechanisms in occupational asthma. These studies are comparing the allergic pulmonary response to trimellitic anhydride, a chemical used in the paints and plastics industries, to the classic protein allergen, ovalbumin. In addition, the role of the innate immune system, particularly the plasma complement system, in mediating the symptoms of occupational asthma is being explored. The approaches are interdisciplinary, spanning molecular to physiological techniques.

Laboratory Personnel

  • Barb Elmquist, Assistant Scientist
  • Jon Opacich, Undergraduate Student
  • Megan Strehlke, Undergraduate Student
  • Courtney Bauer, Undergraduate Student

Memberships

  • American Association of Immunologists
  • American Society of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics
  • Society of Toxicology, Immunotoxicology Specialty Section
  • American Thoracic Society
  • American Heart Association

Associate Editor, Journal of Immunotoxicology, Toxicology Reports
Editorial Board, Toxicological Sciences

Publications 

See also: PubMed

Selected Reviews and Book Chapters

Regal, J.F. Complement System, In Encyclopedia of Immunotoxicology.  Ed. H-W Vohr.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2014.  DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-27786-3_290-3

Regal, J.F. and Selgrade MJ:  Hypersensitivity Reactions in the Respiratory Tract. In Immune System Toxicology, Vol 5, Comprehensive Toxicology. 2nd ed. Ed. I.G. Sipes, C.A. McQueen, A.J. Gandolfi. Elsevier Science.  2010

Regal, J.F.  Allergic asthma and rhinitis: Toxicological considerations. In General and Applied Toxicology, 3rd ed. B. Ballantyne, T. Marrs, T. Syversen (eds). John Wiley and Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK,  pp 1153-1168.  2009

Regal, J.F., Greene, A.L., and Regal, R.R.: Mechanisms of Occupational Asthma: Not all Allergens are Equal. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 12:161-167, 2007.

Regal, J.F.  Immunologic Effector Mechanisms in Animal Models of Occupational Asthma. J. Immunotoxicology 1:25-38, 2004.

Regal, J.F.  Murine Asthma Models. Current Protocols in Toxicology. 18.3.1-18.3.21 (2004).

Regal, J.F.: Committee member and Co-author of Gulf War and Health, Volume 1: Depleted Uranium, Sarin, Pyridostigmine Bromide, and Vaccines. Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press, Washington D.C. 2000.