During this year of independent study, I will be working on studying the effects of habitual morphine use on the livers and kidneys on mice. I will be working with an outside lab to examine the organs of mice that were given steady doses of morphine during their lives. We will specifically be looking at the effects of the morphine on the enzymes known as Cytochrome P450. This is a large family of enzymes with a range of purposes, but CYP3A4 and CYP2B6 are the specific enzymes that deal with the detoxification of the blood in the liver and kidneys. Specifically, these enzymes work to neutralize opiates, both synthetic and otherwise.
To begin, I researched the background information necessary to understand how the liver processes the blood and toxic substances. I came to an understanding of the various ways in which the liver is damaged by the drug in the long term, which can be found here.