Behavioral and Molecular Evidence for a Feedback Interaction Between Morphine and HIV-1 Viral Proteins
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- Chang, S.L. & Connaghan, K.P. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol (2012) 7: 332. doi:10.1007/s11481-011-9324-1
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Morphine use and addiction is common among HIV infected individuals. There is an abundance of research supporting the effects of morphine and other mu opioid receptor (MOR) ligands, on the function of HIV-1 viral proteins and progression of HIV-1 viral infection to AIDS. On the other hand, there is much less research that investigates the possible effects of the persistent presence of HIV-1 viral proteins on the expression of the MOR and the analgesic and rewarding effects of MOR ligands such as morphine. While researchers have made a great deal of progress in the past several years, the overall investigation of the interaction between opiates such as morphine and HIV-1 viral proteins is largely unilateral. It has become widely accepted that drugs of abuse interact with HIV-1 viral proteins, but the mechanisms by which this takes place are only recently being discovered. Molecular and behavioral research suggests a feedback interaction between morphine and HIV-1 viral proteins. This interaction is mediated largely by the MOR as well as interplay between MOR ligands and cytokines, chemokines and their receptors. Some of the mechanisms underlying the feedback interaction between morphine and HIV-1 viral proteins has been demonstrated using cell culture and the recently engineered HIV-1 transgenic (HIV-1Tg) rat models.