Over the past two decades methamphetamine (MA) abuse has seen a dramatic increase. The abuse of MA is particularly high in groups that are at higher risk for HIV-1 infection, especially men who have sex with men (MSM). This review is focused on MA toxicity in the CNS as well as in the periphery. In the CNS, MA toxicity is comprised of numerous effects, including, but not limited to, oxidative stress produced by dysregulation of the dopaminergic system, hyperthermia, apoptosis, and neuroinflammation. Multiple lines of evidence demonstrate that these effects exacerbate the neurodegenerative damage caused by CNS infection of HIV perhaps because both MA and HIV target the frontostriatal regions of the brain. MA has also been demonstrated to increase viral load in the CNS of SIV-infected macaques. Using transgenic animal models, as well as cultured cells, the HIV proteins Tat and gp120 have been demonstrated to have neurotoxic properties that are aggravated by MA. In addition, MA has been shown to exhibit detrimental effects on the blood–brain barrier (BBB) that have the potential to increase the probability of CNS infection by HIV. Although the effects of MA in the periphery have not been as extensively studied as have the effects on the CNS, recent reports demonstrate the potential effects of MA on HIV infection in the periphery including increased expression of HIV co-receptors and increased expression of inflammatory cytokines.
Methamphetamine toxicity; HIV-1 infection; MSM; CNS
HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have a formidable capacity for mutation and adaptation, a characteristic that has contributed to the extensive genetic variability. Evolutionary pressures imposed within the host and the viral capacity to mutate lead to the generation of such variants. To date, very little information is available regarding the evolution of HIV with drug abuse as a cofounding factor. Using our macaque model of drug dependency and AIDS, we have investigated the dynamics of SIV mutations in the genes tat, vpr, envelope, and nef. The results presented in this review, from our laboratory and others, contribute to the overall understanding of how drugs of abuse might influence immune selective pressure contribution to variation in different SIV genes. Additionally, the studies presented could help enlighten the development of HIV vaccines that take into consideration viral diversity.
morphine; SIV; viral evolution; AIDS
This meeting was a special symposium sponsored by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The conference was held in Gangzhou, China on July 24–26, 2011 and shared a venue with the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (SCBA) Thirteenth International Symposium. Over 150 participants from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia attended the meeting. The meeting report focuses on two areas of research in which there have been exciting developments that have application to the development of antivirals: the regulation of host and viral mRNA by RNAi and NF-kB regulation of viral gene expression.
The use of alcohol has been associated with both an increased risk of acquisition of HIV-1 infection and an increased rate of disease progression among those already infected by the virus. The potential for alcohol to exacerbate the effects of HIV infection is especially important in the CNS because this area is vulnerable to the combined effects of alcohol and HIV infection. The effects of alcohol on glial cells are mediated through receptors such as TLR4 and NMDAR. This causes the activation of signaling molecules such as IRAK and various members of the p38MAPK family and subsequent activation of transcription factors such as NF-κB and AP-1. The eventual outcome is an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine production by glial cells. Alcohol also induces higher levels of NADPH oxidase in glial cells which leads to an increased production of ROS. Viral invasion of the CNS occurs early after infection, and HIV proteins have also been demonstrated to increase levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and ROS in glial cells through activation of some of the same pathways activated by alcohol. Both cell culture systems and animal models have demonstrated that concomitant exposure to alcohol and HIV/HIV proteins results in increased levels of expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, and TNF-α, along with increased levels of oxidative stress. Clinical studies also suggest that alcohol exacerbates the CNS effects of HIV-1 infection. This review focuses on the mechanisms by which alcohol causes increased CNS damage in HIV-1-infection.
Alcohol; HIV-1; Central Nervous System
HIV-1 infection is a global public health problem with more than 34 million people living with HIV infection. Although great strides have been made in treating this epidemic with therapeutic agents, the increase in patient life span has been coincident with an increase in the prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). HAND is thought to result from the neurotoxic effects of viral proteins that are shed from HIV-infected microglial cells. One of the primary neurotoxins responsible for this effect is the HIV-1 glycoprotein gp120. Exposure of neurons to gp120 has been demonstrated to cause apoptosis in neurons, as well as numerous indirect effects such as an increase in inflammatory cytokines, an increase in oxidative stress, and an increase in permeability of the blood-brain barrier. In many patients, the use of drugs of abuse (DOA) exacerbates the neurotoxic effects of gp120. Cocaine, methamphetamine and morphine are three DOAs that are commonly used by those infected with HIV-1. All three of these DOAs have been demonstrated to increase oxidative stress in the CNS as well as to increase permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Numerous model systems have demonstrated that these DOAs have the capability of exacerbating the neurotoxic effects of gp120. This review will summarize the neurotoxic effects of gp120, the deleterious effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and morphine on the CNS, and the combined effects of gp120 in the context of these drugs.
CNS; cocaine; gp120; HIV; methamphetamine; morphine; central nervous system; HAND; drug of abuse; ARV
Multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP-1) is a ubiquitously expressed member of the ATP-binding cassette transporter family. MRP-1 is one of the primary transporters of glutathione and glutathione conjugates. This protein also transports antiretroviral therapeutics, such as HIV-1 protease inhibitors (PI). We hypothesized that inflammatory mediators that activate macrophages would modify the expression and activity of MRP-1 in macrophages. Real time PCR assays western blots and calcein efflux assays were used to show that exposure of macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 to LPS increased expression of MRP-1 at the level of mRNA and protein, as well as at the level of functional activity. Treatment of macrophages with LPS resulted in 2-fold increases of MRP-1 expression or functional activity. LPS-mediated increases in calcein efflux were repressed by the MRP-specific inhibitor MK-571. These results suggest that the effectiveness of HIV-1 PI therapy may be compromised by the presence of opportunistic infections.
Alcohol consumption, which is highly prevalent in HIV-infected individuals, poses serious concerns in terms of rate of acquisition of HIV-1 infection, HIV-1 replication, response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and AIDS/neuroAIDS progression. However, little is known about the mechanistic pathways by which alcohol exerts these effects, especially with respect to HIV-1 replication and the patient’s response to HAART.
In this review, the authors discuss the effects of alcohol consumption on HIV-1 pathogenesis and its effect on HAART. They also describe the role of cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) in alcohol-mediated oxidative stress and toxicity, and the role of CYP3A4 in the metabolism of drugs used in HAART (i.e., protease inhibitors (PI) and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI)). Based on the most recent findings the authors discuss the role of CYP2E1 in alcohol-mediated oxidative stress in monocytes/macrophages and astrocytes, as well as the role of CYP3A4 in alcohol–PI interactions leading to altered metabolism of PI in these cells.
The authors propose that alcohol and PI/NNRTI interact synergistically in monocytes/macrophages and astrocytes through the CYP pathway leading to an increase in oxidative stress and a decrease in response to HAART. Ultimately, this exacerbates HIV-1 pathogenesis and neuroAIDS.
alcohol; antiretroviral; cytochrome P450; HIV-1; NeuroAIDS
The prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remains high in patients infected with HIV-1. The production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by astrocytes/microglia exposed to viral proteins is thought to be one of the mechanisms leading to HIV-1- mediated neurotoxicity. In the present study we examined the effects of Nef on CCL5 induction in astrocytes. The results demonstrate that CCL5 is significantly induced in Nef-transfected SVGA astrocytes. To determine the mechanisms responsible for the increased CCL5 caused by Nef, we employed siRNA and chemical antagonists. Antagonists of NF-κB, PI3K, and p38 significantly reduced the expression levels of CCL5 induced by Nef transfection. Furthermore, specific siRNAs demonstrated that the Akt, p38MAPK, NF-κB, CEBP, and AP-1 pathways play a role in Nef-mediated CCL5 expression. The results demonstrated that the PI3K/Akt and p38 MAPK pathways, along with the transcription factors NF-κB, CEBP, and AP-1, are involved in Nef-induced CCL5 production in astrocytes.
Nicotine is known to generate oxidative stress through cytochrome P450 2A6 (CYP2A6)-mediated metabolism in the liver and other organs, including macrophages. This study has been designed to examine the role of CYP2A6 in nicotine metabolism and oxidative stress in SVGA cells, an immortalized human astrocyte cell line.
SVGA astrocytes were treated with 1μM nicotine, followed by determination of mRNA and protein levels of several CYPs using quantitative RT-PCR and western blot analyses, respectively. Quantitation of nicotine and the nicotine metabolites, cotinine and nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketones (NNK), was performed using an LC-MS/MS method. The generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured using flow cytometry.
Nicotine significantly upregulated mRNA and protein expression of the most abundantly expressed CYPs in SVGA astrocytes, CYP2A6 and CYP1A1. To characterize the metabolism of nicotine in astrocytes, a highly sensitive LC-MS/MS method was developed which is capable of quantifying very low concentrations of nicotine (0.3ng/ml), cotinine and NNK (0.11ng/ml). The LCMS/MS results showed that nicotine is steadily metabolized to cotinine and NNK from 0.5–4h. Finally, we showed that nicotine initially causes an increase in ROS formation which is then gradually decreased, perhaps due to the increase in superoxide dismutase level. Nicotine metabolism and ROS formation by CYP2A6 were further confirmed by using tryptamine, a selective inhibitor of CYP2A6, which significantly lowered the levels of cotinine and NNK and inhibited ROS formation.
CYP2A6 plays a key role in nicotine metabolism and oxidative stress in astrocytes, and this has implications in nicotine-associated brain toxicity.
Nicotine; CYP2A6; astrocytes; LC-MS/MS; oxidative stress
HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 has been extensively studied for neurotoxic effects that have been attributed to the increased expression of various proinflammatory cytokines in the CNS. Recently we have shown that methamphetamine (MA) also increases expression of proinflammatory cytokines in astrocytes. However, combined effect of gp120 and MA is not known. The present study was undertaken to determine cumulative effect and the mechanism(s)/pathways involved in the functional interaction between gp120 and MA in SVGA astrocytes. Our results clearly suggest that gp120 and MA affect IL-6 but not IL-8 in a synergistic manner and this synergy was mediated by PI3K/Akt and NF-κB pathways. Inhibition of either of these pathways could abrogate the increased expression of IL-6 due to MA or gp120 alone, as well as the increased expression of IL-6 when the astrocytes were treated with both gp120 and MA. These results were confirmed by both, using chemical inhibitors/siRNA as well as western blotting. This study therefore provides novel information regarding the interaction between MA and gp120 in terms of the expression of IL-6 and the mechanisms underlying potential synergy between MA and gp120 in astrocytes.
The use of methamphetamine (MA) has increased in recent years, and is a major health concern throughout the world. The use of MA has been associated with an increased risk of acquiring HIV-1, along with an increased probability of the acquisition of various sexually transmitted infections. In order to determine the potential effects of MA exposure in the context of an infectious agent, U937 macrophages were exposed to various combinations of MA and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Treatment with MA alone caused significant increases in the levels of TNF-α, while treatment with both MA and LPS resulted in significant increases in TNF-α, IL-1β and the chemokine IL-8. The increases in cytokine or chemokine levels seen when cells were treated with both LPS and MA were generally greater than those increases observed when cells were treated with only LPS. Treatment with chemical inhibitors demonstrated that the signal transduction pathways including NF-kB, MAPK, and PI3-Akt were involved in mediating the increased inflammatory response. As discussed in the paper, these pathways appear to be utilized by both MA and LPS, in the induction of these inflammatory mediators. Since these pathways are involved in the induction of inflammation in response to other pathogens, this suggests that MA-exacerbated inflammation may be a common feature of infectious disease in MA abusers.
Methamphetamine (MA) is one of the commonly used illicit drugs and the central nervous system toxicity of MA is well documented. The mechanisms contributing to this toxicity have not been fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated the effect of MA on the expression levels of the proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines, IL-6 and IL-8 in an astrocytic cell line. The IL-6 and IL-8 RNA levels were found to increase by 4.6 ± 0.2 fold and 3.5 ± 0.2 fold, respectively, after exposure to MA for three days. Exposure of astrocytes to MA for 24 hours also caused increased expression of IL-6 and IL-8 at the level of both RNA and protein. The potential involvement of the nuclear factor-Kappa B (NF-κB) pathway was explored as one of the possible mechanism(s) responsible for the increased induction of IL-6 and IL-8 by MA. The MA-mediated increases in IL-6 and IL-8 were significantly abrogated by SC514. We also found that exposure of astrocytes to MA results in activation of NF-κB through the phosphorylation of IκB-α, followed by translocation of active NF-κB from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. In addition, treatment of cells with a specific inhibitor of metabotropic glutamate receptor-5 (mGluR5) revealed that MA-mediated expression levels of IL-6 and IL-8 were abrogated by this treatment by 42.6 ± 5.8% and 65.5 ± 3.5%, respectively. Also, LY294002, an inhibitor of the Akt/PI3K pathway, abrogated the MA-mediated induction of IL-6 and IL-8 by 77.9 ± 6.6% and 81.4 ± 2.6%, respectively. Thus, our study demonstrates the involvement of an NF-κB-mediated signaling mechanism in the induction of IL-6 and IL-8 by MA. Furthermore, we showed that blockade of mGluR5 can protect astrocytes from MA-mediated increases of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines suggesting mGluR5 as a potential therapeutic target in treating MA-mediated neurotoxicity.
gp120; IL-8; Astrocytes; NF-kB; siRNA
ATP-binding cassette (ABC) proteins and cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes regulate the bioavailability of HIV-1 antiretroviral therapeutic (ART) drugs, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) and protease inhibitors (PIs). They are also involved in regulating, and responding to, oxidative stress in various tissues and organs including liver. The present study is designed to assess the effect of alcohol on the ABCC1 and CYP enzymes involved in the metabolism of NNRTIs and PIs (CYP2B6, CYP2D6, CYP3A4) and oxidative stress (CYP1A1, CYP2A6, CYP2E1) in U937 macrophages. The U937 cell line has been utilized as an in vitro model of human macrophages.
The expression levels of the ABCC1 and CYP enzymes in U937 macrophages were characterized in terms of mRNA quantification, protein analysis, and assays for functional activity. In addition, oxidative stress was monitored by measuring the activities of oxidative stress marker enzymes and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS).
The order of mRNA expression in U937 macrophages was ABCC1 ~ CYP2A6 > CYP3A4 ~ CYP2E1 ~ CYP1A1 > CYP2D6 > CYP2B6. Alcohol (100 mM) increased the mRNA levels of ABCC1 and CYP2A6 (200%), CYP2B6 and CYP3A4 (150%), and CYP2E1 (400%) compared with the control. Alcohol caused significant upregulation of ABCC1, CYP2A6, CYP2E1, and CYP3A4 proteins (50-85%) and showed >50% increase in the specific activity of CYP2A6 and CYP3A4 in U937 macrophages. Furthermore, alcohol increased the production of ROS and significantly enhanced the activity of oxidative stress marker enzymes, superoxide dismutase and catalase in U937 macrophages.
Our study showed that alcohol causes increases in genetic and functional expressions of ABCC1 and CYP enzymes in U937 macrophages. This study has clinical implications in alcoholic HIV-1 individuals, because alcohol consumption is reported to reduce the therapeutic efficacy of NNRTIs and PIs and increases oxidative stress.
Alcohol; Cytochrome P450; ABCC1; antiretroviral therapy; oxidative stress
In addition to its role in virus entry, HIV-1 gp120 has also been implicated in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. However, the mechanism(s) responsible for gp120-mediated neuroinflammation remain undefined. In view of increased levels of IL-6 in HIV-positive individuals with neurological manifestations, we sought to address whether gp120 is involved in IL-6 over-expression in astrocytes. Transfection of a human astrocyte cell line with a plasmid encoding gp120 resulted in increased expression of IL-6 at the levels of mRNA and protein by 51.3±2.1 and 11.6±2.2 fold respectively; this effect of gp120 on IL-6 expression was also demonstrated using primary human fetal astrocytes. A similar effect on IL-6 expression was observed when primary astrocytes were treated with gp120 protein derived from different strains of X4 and R5 tropic HIV-1. The induction of IL-6 could be abrogated by use of gp120-specific siRNA. Furthermore, this study showed that the NF-κB pathway is involved in gp120-mediated IL-6 over-expression, as IKK-2 and IKKβ inhibitors inhibited IL-6 expression by 56.5% and 60.8%, respectively. These results were also confirmed through the use of NF-κB specific siRNA. We also showed that gp120 could increase the phosphorylation of IκBα. Furthermore, gp120 transfection in the SVGA cells increased translocation of NF-κB from cytoplasm to nucleus. These results demonstrate that HIV-1 gp120-mediated over-expression of IL-6 in astrocytes is one mechanism responsible for neuroinflammation in HIV-infected individuals and this is mediated by the NF-κB pathway.
Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), also manifests neurological complications. HIV-associated dementia (HAD) is the most severe form of HIV-induced neurocognitive disorders. HIV encephalitis (HIVE), the pathological correlate of HAD, is characterized by the formation of multinucleated giant cells and microglial nodules, astrocytosis, and neuronal damage and loss. Pathological evaluation of HAD disease progression in humans is not possible, with the only data collected being from individuals who have succumbed to the disorder, a snap shot of end-stage disease at best. Therefore, pertinent animal models have been developed to alleviate this gap of knowledge in the field of neurovirology and neuroinflammation. In general, the most widely used animal models are the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and the chimeric simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) macaque model systems. Although both SIV and SHIV model systems are able to potentiate neuroinvasion and the concomitant neuropathology similar to that seen in the human syndromes, the innate differences between the two in disease pathogenesis and progression make for two separate, yet effective, systems for the study of HIV-associated neuropathology.
HIV; macaque; SHIV; SIV
In vitro models have proven to be effective in studying the placental transporters that play a role in the exchange of nutrients, waste products, and drugs between the maternal and fetal circulations. Although primary cultures of trophoblast cells can be used to perform uptake, efflux, and metabolism studies, only the rodent HRP-1 and the human BeWo cell lines have been shown to form confluent monolayers when grown on semi-permeable membranes. Protocols for the revival, maintenance, passage, and growth of BeWo cells for transporter expression and transcellular transport studies are provided.
Trophoblast cells; BeWo cell; transcellular transport; efflux mechanisms
Using the simian immunodeficiency virus/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-macaque model of AIDS, we had shown in a previous report that a live, nonpathogenic strain of SHIV, further attenuated by deletion of the vpu gene and inoculated orally into adult macaques, had effectively prevented AIDS following vaginal inoculation with pathogenic SHIVKU. Examination of lymph nodes from the animals at 18 weeks postchallenge had shown that all six animals were persistently infected with challenge virus. We report here on a 2-year follow-up study on the nature of the persistent infections in these animals. DNA of the vaccine virus was present in the lymph nodes at all time points tested, as far as 135 weeks postchallenge. In contrast, the DNA of SHIVKU became undetectable in one animal by week 55 and in three others by week 63. These four macaques have remained negative for SHIVKU DNA as far as the last time point examined at week 135. Quantification of the total viral DNA concentration in lymph nodes during the observation period showed a steady decline. All animals developed neutralizing antibody and cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte responses to SHIVKU that persisted throughout the observation period. Vaccine-like viruses were isolated from two animals, and a SHIVKU-like virus was isolated from one of the two macaques that remained positive for SHIVKU DNA. There was no evidence of recombination between the vaccine and the challenge viruses. Thus, immunization with the live vaccine not only prevented disease but also contributed to the steady decline in the virus burdens in the animals.
Three transcripts from the terminal repeat of the channel catfish virus (CCV; also known as ictalurid herpesvirus 1) genome were mapped by S1 nuclease and primer extension analyses as well as by cDNA sequencing. These transcripts, TR3, TR5/6, and TR6, are encoded by open reading frame (ORF) 3, ORFs 5 and 6, and ORF 6, respectively, and correspond to those previously identified by sequence analysis (A. J. Davison, Virology 186:9–14, 1992). ORF 5 has previously been determined to encode thymidine kinase, but ORF 3 and ORF 6 encode proteins of unknown function. Although all three transcripts accumulate to high levels in cells infected in the presence of cycloheximide, kinetic analysis demonstrates that TR5/6 and TR6 are either early or late transcripts that leak through the cycloheximide block. In addition, two transcripts from the terminal repeat of the CCV genome that were mapped previously and were thought to be immediate-early in character, TR8a/9 and TR9, exhibit kinetics characteristic of early or late transcripts. TR3 is an immediate-early transcript that appears to have a very short half-life. In the 3′ untranslated region of TR3, there are three copies of an AU-rich element which has previously been shown to be involved in destabilization of the oncogene c-fos and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor mRNAs. mRNA destabilization may represent another mechanism by which herpesviruses regulate the rapid switch in expression from immediate-early genes to early genes during the transition to the early phase of infection.