Journal of NeuroVirology

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 603–614 | Cite as

Novel nanoformulation to mitigate co-effects of drugs of abuse and HIV-1 infection: towards the treatment of NeuroAIDS

  • Rahul Dev JayantEmail author
  • Venkata S. R. Atluri
  • Sneham Tiwari
  • Sudheesh Pilakka-Kanthikeel
  • Ajeet Kaushik
  • Adriana Yndart
  • Madhavan NairEmail author


Drug abuse (e.g., methamphetamine—Meth or cocaine—Coc) is one of the major risk factors for becoming infected with HIV-1, and studies show that in combination, drug abuse and HIV-1 lead to significantly greater damage to CNS. To overcome these issues, we have developed a novel nanoformulation (NF) for drug-abusing population infected with HIV-1. In this work, a novel approach was developed for the co-encapsulation of Nelfinavir (Nel) and Rimcazole (Rico) using layer-by-layer (LbL) assembled magnetic nanoformulation for the cure of neuroAIDS. Developed NF was evaluated for blood-brain barrier (BBB) transmigration, cell uptake, cytotoxicity and efficacy (p24 assay) in HIV-1 infected primary astrocyte (HA) in presence or absence of Coc and Meth. Developed magnetic nanoformulation (NF) fabricated using the LbL approach exhibited higher amounts of drug loading (Nel and Rico) with 100% release of both the therapeutic agents in a sustained manner for 8 days. NF efficacy studies indicated a dose-dependent decrease in p24 levels in HIV-1-infected HA (~55%) compared to Coc + Meth treated (~50%). The results showed that Rico significantly subdued the effect of drugs of abuse on HIV infectivity. NF successfully transmigrated (38.8 ± 6.5%) across in vitro BBB model on the application of an external magnetic field and showed >90% of cell viability with efficient cell uptake. In conclusion, our proof of concept study revealed that sustained and concurrent release of sigma σ1 antagonist and anti-HIV drug from the developed novel sustained release NF can overcome the exacerbated effects of drugs of abuse in HIV infection and may solve the issue of medication adherence in the drug-abusing HIV-1 infected population.


NeuroAIDS Drugs of abuse Magnetic nanoparticle Sustain release formulation Blood-brain-barrier (BBB) 



We would like to acknowledge the financial support from NIH grant nos. R01-DA040537, R01-DA037838, R01-DA042706, for (MN). We also like to acknowledge NIH-AIDS Research Program for the ARV drug and HIV-1 virus. The authors also would like to acknowledge Roozbeh Nikkhah-Moshaie and the facility support of the Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute (AMERI), FIU.

Author contributions

RDJ conducted all of the key measurements including NF preparation, characterization, in vitro drug release, BBB, and efficacy studies. VA helped in designing dose optimization, cellular uptake, cell culture studies, and p24 assays. AY and SPK helped with flow cytometer analysis. AK and ST helped with TEM, DLS, and MTT cytotoxicity studies. MN supervised the whole project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Journal of NeuroVirology, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Personalized Nanomedicine, Institute of NeuroImmune Pharmacology, Department of Immunology, Herbert Wertheim College of MedicineFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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