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SDBRI’s Marcondes Group identify a new mechanism that can explain aggravated HIV infection in drug abusers

HIV infects immune cells in the central nervous system leading to inflammation and neurological deficits. The neurological symptoms experienced by HIV-infected individuals are further aggravated in cases of substance use disorders and drug abuse, which are highly prevalent in that population. The Marcondes group at SDBRI found that in cases of Methamphetamine use, Dopamine (a neurotransmitter induced by addictive drugs and responsible for feelings of reward), and its receptors, play a large role in increasing the expression of CCR5 (a protein on the surface of white blood cells). CCR5 can enhance inflammation, but also allows for HIV entry into immune target cells. This work shows a new mechanism that can explain the aggravated HIV infection in drug abusers. Read more in the recently published paper by the Marcondes group.

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