Cannabinoids and morphine differentially affect HIV-1 expression in CD4+ lymphocyte and microglial cell cultures

P. K. Peterson, G. Gekker, Shuxian Hu, G. Cabral, James R Lokensgard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The influence of substances of abuse on the progression of HIV-1 infection is controversial, and pharmacologic factors have been postulated as a potential explanation for conflicting data arising from epidemiological studies and animal models. In the present study, cell culture models of HIV-1 infection were used to test this hypothesis. The synthetic cannabinoid WIN 55,212-2 was found to potently inhibit HIV-1 expression in a concentration- and time-dependent manner in CD4+ lymphocyte and microglial cell cultures. In sharp contrast, morphine either inhibited or stimulated viral expression, depending upon the time of drug exposure, and marked differences were observed between CD4+ and microglial cells. Also, WIN 55,212-2 inhibited the stimulatory effect of morphine in HIV-1 infected CD4+ cells. These in vitro findings support the notion that pharmacologic factors need to be considered in epidemiological studies and animal models that pertain to HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-126
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • CD4 lymphocytes
  • Cannabinoids
  • HIV-1
  • Microglia
  • Opioids

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