Background: HIV-1 enters the CNS within two weeks after peripheral
infection and results in chronic neuroinflammation that leads to HIV associated
neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in more than 50% of infected people. HIV
enters the CNS by transmigration of infected monocytes across the blood brain
barrier. Intravenous drug abuse is a major risk factor for HIV-1 infection, and
opioids have been shown to alter the progression and severity of HAND.
Methadone and buprenorphine are opioid derivates that are used as opioid
maintenance therapies. They are commonly used to treat opioid dependency in
HIV infected substance abusers, but their effects on monocyte migration relevant
to the development of cognitive impairment are not well characterized.
Conclusion: Here, we will discuss the effects of opioids and opioid maintenance therapies on the
inflammatory functions of monocytes and macrophages that are related to the development of
neuroinflammation in the context of HIV infection.
Keywords: Buprenorphine, HIV, methadone, monocytes, neuroinflammation, opioid abuse.
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