Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Methadone Promotes HIV Infection In Cell Culture

Date:
May 16, 2001
Source:
Childrens Hospital Of Philadelphia
Summary:
Methadone, the drug that is widely used in drug treatment centers to treat heroin addicts, stimulates HIV infection of human immune cells studied in cell cultures, according to immunology researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Utrecht, The Netherlands — Methadone, the drug that is widely used in drug treatment centers to treat heroin addicts, stimulates HIV infection of human immune cells studied in cell cultures, according to immunology researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The researchers proposed that HIV-infected patients receiving methadone to treat drug abuse should have their blood and immune status closely monitored for possible adverse effects of the treatment. They reported their results today at an international conference of the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society, meeting in Utrecht.

It is well established that intravenous drug users are at high risk for HIV and AIDS. In addition to disease that is spread by HIV-contaminated needles, drugs such as morphine and heroin – classified as opiates – have been shown to stimulate HIV replication in human immune cells. Methadone is a synthetic opiate that shares many biological and chemical properties with morphine and heroin. "Because methadone has been shown to reduce human immune responses, we decided to study its effects on HIV infection of human immune cells," said Wen-Zhe Ho, M.D., an immunology researcher at Children’s Hospital, who presented the research.

Working in cell cultures, the researchers found that methadone increased HIV infection of human microglial cells and macrophages, two important types of immune cells that are reservoirs for the virus in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues.

Furthermore, when added to blood cells taken from HIV-infected patients, methadone changed latent HIV infection to active HIV replication in the cell cultures. Replication is the process by which HIV spreads from infected cells throughout a patient’s body.

The researchers also investigated possible mechanisms by which methadone enhances HIV infection of these immune cells. They showed that methadone has the ability to increase expression of CCR5 receptors on the cell membrane; these receptors provide a method for HIV to enter immune cells. In addition, their study demonstrated that methadone could activate HIV LTR, a promoter that causes HIV infection to switch from latency to an active state.

"These results support our hypothesis that, like other opiate drugs, methadone may raise the risk of HIV infection," said Dr. Ho. "Further investigations should be done to study whether our laboratory results accurately reflect how HIV infection progresses in patients receiving methadone." In their paper, Dr. Ho’s team suggested that HIV-infected patients being treated with methadone should be monitored for changes in HIV viral load and CD4 cell counts, both of which are indicators of disease progression in HIV/AIDS.

In addition to Dr. Ho, other co-authors from Children’s Hospital were Yuan Li, M.D., Xu Wang, Sha Tian, and Steven D. Douglas, M.D. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is ranked today as the best pediatric hospital in the nation by a comprehensive Child Magazine survey. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking second in National Institutes of Health funding.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Childrens Hospital Of Philadelphia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Childrens Hospital Of Philadelphia. "Methadone Promotes HIV Infection In Cell Culture." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010516081006.htm>.
Childrens Hospital Of Philadelphia. (2001, May 16). Methadone Promotes HIV Infection In Cell Culture. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010516081006.htm
Childrens Hospital Of Philadelphia. "Methadone Promotes HIV Infection In Cell Culture." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010516081006.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins