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AIDS Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 953678, 10 pages
Review Article

Interactive Effects of Morphine on HIV Infection: Role in HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder

1Department of Immunology, Institute of NeuroImmune Pharmacology, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
2Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500007, India

Received 16 September 2011; Revised 13 February 2012; Accepted 2 March 2012

Academic Editor: Marjorie Robert-Guroff

Copyright © 2012 Pichili Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


HIV epidemic continues to be a severe public health problem and concern within USA and across the globe with about 33 million people infected with HIV. The frequency of drug abuse among HIV infected patients is rapidly increasing and is another major issue since injection drug users are at a greater risk of developing HIV associated neurocognitive dysfunctions compared to non-drug users infected with HIV. Brain is a major target for many of the recreational drugs and HIV. Evidences suggest that opiate drug abuse is a risk factor in HIV infection, neural dysfunction and progression to AIDS. The information available on the role of morphine as a cofactor in the neuropathogenesis of HIV is scanty. This review summarizes the results that help in understanding the role of morphine use in HIV infection and neural dysfunction. Studies show that morphine enhances HIV-1 infection by suppressing IL-8, downregulating chemokines with reciprocal upregulation of HIV coreceptors. Morphine also activates MAPK signaling and downregulates cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB). Better understanding on the role of morphine in HIV infection and mechanisms through which morphine mediates its effects may help in devising novel therapeutic strategies against HIV-1 infection in opiate using HIV-infected population.