Drug Induced Increases in CNS Dopamine Alter Monocyte, Macrophage and T Cell Functions: Implications for HAND
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Central nervous system (CNS) complications resulting from HIV infection remain a major public health problem as individuals live longer due to the success of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). As many as 70 % of HIV infected people have HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Many HIV infected individuals abuse drugs, such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine, that may be important cofactors in the development of HIV CNS disease. Despite different mechanisms of action, all drugs of abuse increase extracellular dopamine in the CNS. The effects of dopamine on HIV neuropathogenesis are not well understood, and drug induced increases in CNS dopamine may be a common mechanism by which different types of drugs of abuse impact the development of HAND. Monocytes and macrophages are central to HIV infection of the CNS and to HAND. While T cells have not been shown to be a major factor in HIV-associated neuropathogenesis, studies indicate that T cells may play a larger role in the development of HAND in HIV infected drug abusers. Drug induced increases in CNS dopamine may dysregulate functions of, or increase HIV infection in, monocytes, macrophages and T cells in the brain. Thus, characterizing the effects of dopamine on these cells is important for understanding the mechanisms that mediate the development of HAND in drug abusers.