In This Section

Toby K. Eisenstein, PhD

Co-Director and Professor, Center for Substance Abuse Research
Professor, Neural Sciences
Professor, Microbiology, Immunology and Inflammation

Toby Eisenstein
Contact Information

Contact Information


215-707- 3585



About Me

Research Interests

The major research areas in Dr. Eisenstein’s laboratory involve investigation of neuroimmune circuits that relate to abused substances. She has published extensively showing that opioids and cannabinoids suppress functional immune responses and sensitize to various bacterial infections when given in vivo or in vitro. Her laboratory was the first to show that morphine induces sepsis in mice, and also sensitizes to oral infection with Salmonella typhimurium in mice and systemic infection with Acinetobacter baumannii. She has carried out mechanistic studies on the effect of morphine and morphine withdrawal on cytokine profiles that correlate with immunosuppression and sensitization to infections. In addition, she has shown that cannabinoids with activity at the CB2 receptor are immunosuppressive and inhibit T cells involved in skin and organ graft rejection through production of IL-10 and induction of T regulatory cells. A patent has been issued for use of CB2-selective agonists in inhibiting graft rejection. Her recent work has been on a Department of Defense-funded project to assess the effect of chemokine receptor antagonists (CRAs) on potentiating the analgesic capacity of morphine in five pain models in rodents. Results show that CRAs can shift the morphine dose-response curve significantly to the left in a rat model of incisional pain and can also significantly augment the potency of morphine in the cold-water tail flick test and the formalin pain test (the latter in mice). Her laboratory is determining the effect of these treatments on levels of chemokines and cytokines. She is Director of the Cell and Immunology Core of the National Institute on Drug Abuse P30 Center of Excellence. Through this Core she collaborates with faculty at Temple and at other institutions to assess levels of immune mediators like cytokines and chemokines in substance abuse including opioids, cocaine, psychostimulants and alcohol. Immune molecules are measured in serum, immune peripheral tissues, and the brain. Samples can come from animals or humans experiencing acute substance use, chronic use, or withdrawal. These studies are leading to new discoveries on the role of molecules, previously categorized as immune mediators, in the function of the nervous system in addiction.

Education, Training & Credentials

Educational Background

  • PhD, Bryn Mawr College
  • BA, Wellesley College

Digital Bibliography

View PubMed Publications

Reviews/Books/Book Chapters

McCarthy L, Wetzel M, Sliker JK, Eisenstein TK, Rogers TJ. Opioids, opioid receptors, and the immune response: a review. Drug Alcohol Depend 62(111-23)2001.

Eisenstein TK. Implications of Salmonella-induced nitric oxide (NO) for host defense and vaccines: NO, an antimicrobial, antitumor, immunosuppressive, and immunoregulatory molecule. Microbes and Infection 3:(1223-31)2001.

Eisenstein TK, Meissler JJ Jr., Geller EB, Liu-Chen L-Y, Rogers TJ, Adler MW. Nociceptin as an immunoregulatory peptide. NIDA monographs182:(97-100)2002.

Rogers TJ, Bednar F, Kaminsky DE, Davey PC, Meissler JJ Jr., Eisenstein TK. Laboratory Model Systems of Drug Abuse and their Relevance to HIV Infection and Dementia. In “The Neurology of AIDS, 2nd Ed”. ed. H. Gendelman, I. Grant, I. Everall, S. Lipton, and S. Swindells. Oxford University Press. pp. 309-320, 2005... Expand