The opioid epidemic represents a national crisis. Oxycodone is one of the most prescribed opioid medications in the United States, whereas buprenorphine is currently the most prescribed medication for opioid use disorder (OUD) pharmacotherapy. Given the extensive use of prescription opioids and the global opioid epidemic, it is essential to understand how opioids modulate brain cell type function at the single-cell level. We performed single nucleus RNA-seq (snRNA-seq) using iPSC-derived forebrain organoids from three male OUD subjects in response to oxycodone, buprenorphine, or vehicle for seven days. We utilized the snRNA-seq data to identify differentially expressed genes following drug treatment using the Seurat integrative analysis pipeline. We utilized iPSC-derived forebrain organoids and single-cell sequencing technology as an unbiased tool to study cell-type-specific and drug-specific transcriptional responses. After quality control filtering, we analyzed 25787 cells and identified sixteen clusters using unsupervised clustering analysis. Our results reveal distinct transcriptional responses to oxycodone and buprenorphine by iPSC-derived brain organoids from patients with OUD. Specifically, buprenorphine displayed a significant influence on transcription regulation in glial cells. However, oxycodone induced type I interferon signaling in many cell types, including neural cells in brain organoids. Finally, we demonstrate that oxycodone, but not buprenorphine activated STAT1 and induced the type I interferon signaling in patients with OUD. These data suggest that elevation of STAT1 expression associated with OUD might play a role in transcriptional regulation in response to oxycodone. In summary, our results provide novel mechanistic insight into drug action at single-cell resolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience