The investigators found that meth increases expression of a receptor called DC-SIGN, a "virus-attachment factor," allowing more of the virus to invade the immune system.
"This finding shows that using meth is doubly dangerous," said Madhavan P.N. Nair, Ph.D., first author on the study, published in the online version of the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. The study will appear in print in the September issue of the journal.
"Meth reduces inhibitions, thus increasing the likelihood of risky sexual behavior and the potential to introduce the virus into the body, and at the same time allows more virus to get into the cell," said Nair, professor of medicine and a specialist in immunology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
His research centers on dendritic cells, which serve as the first line of defense again pathogens, and two receptors on these cells -- HIV binding/attachment receptors (DC-SIGN) and the meth-specific dopamine receptor. Dendritic cells overloaded with virus due to the action of methamphetamine can overwhelm the T cells, the major target of HIV, and disrupt the immune response, promoting HIV infection.
"Now that we have identified the target receptor, we can develop ways to block that receptor and decrease the viral spread," said Nair. "We have to approach this disease from as many different perspectives as possible.
"If we could prevent the upregulation of the meth-specific dopamine receptor by blocking it, we may be able to prevent the interaction of meth with its specific receptors, thereby inhibiting the virus attachment receptor," said Nair.
"Right now, we don't know how the virus-attachment receptor and meth-specific receptors interact with each other, leading to the progression of HIV disease in meth-using HIV-infected subjects. That is the next question we want to answer.
"Since meth mediates its effects through interacting with dopamine receptors present on the cells, and meth increases DC-SIGN, which are the HIV attachment receptors, use of dopamine receptor blockers during HIV infection in meth users could be beneficial therapeutically to reduce HIV infection in these high-risk populations," Nair said.
Additional researchers on the publication, all from the UB Department of Medicine, are Supriya Mahajan, Ph.D., research assistant professor; Donald Sykes, Ph.D., research associate professor; Meghana V. Bapardekar, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate, and Jessica L. Reynolds, Ph.D., research assistant professor.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is one of five schools that constitute UB's Academic Health Center.
Lois Baker | EurekAlert!
Researchers image atomic structure of important immune regulator
11.12.2018 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Potential seen for tailoring treatment for acute myeloid leukemia
10.12.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals
Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.
Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.
Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
03.12.2018 | Event News
11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
11.12.2018 | Information Technology