Chronic Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol Administration Increases Lymphocyte CXCR4 Expression in Rhesus Macaques
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- LeCapitaine, N.J., Zhang, P., Winsauer, P. et al. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol (2011) 6: 540. doi:10.1007/s11481-011-9277-4
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Cannabinoids have been reported to produce various immunomodulatory effects, which could potentially impact the host response to bacterial or viral infection. We have recently demonstrated that chronic Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; 0.32 mg/kg i.m., BID) decreased early mortality in rhesus macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). However, the possibility that prolonged THC administration affects lymphocyte counts, phenotype, and proliferation indices has not been addressed. We examined expression of proliferative and phenotypic markers in circulating lymphocytes of male young adult rhesus macaques chronically-treated with THC (i.m. twice daily 0.32 mg/kg) for 12 months. Chronic THC administration did not alter lymphocyte subtypes, naïve and memory subsets, proliferation, or apoptosis of T lymphocytes when compared to time-matched vehicle-treated controls. However, chronic THC increased T lymphocyte CXCR4 expression on both CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes compared to control. These results show that chronic THC administration produces changes in T cell phenotype, which can potentially contribute to host immunomodulation to infectious challenges.