Morphine amplifies HIV-1 expression in chronically infected promonocytes cocultured with human brain cells

Phillip K. Peterson, Genya Gekker, Shuxian Hu, W. Robert Anderson, Frederick Kravitz, Philip S. Portoghese, Henry H. Balfour, Chun C. Chao

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98 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that morphine promotes the replication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cell cocultures. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that morphine would amplify HIV-1 expression in the chronically infected promonocytic clone U1 when cocultured with lipopolysaccharide-stimulated human fetal brain cells. Marked upregulation of HIV-1 expression was observed in these cocultures (quantified by measurement of HIV-1 p24 antigen levels in supernatants), and treatment of brain cells with morphine resulted in a bell-shaped dose-dependent enhancement of viral expression. The mechanism of morphine's amplifying effect appears to be opioid receptor-mediated and to involve enhanced production of tumor necrosis factor-α by microglial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. StephenC ruikshankfo r his advice, Dr. Monica Tsang for providinga ntibodiest o cytokines,a nd JacquelineO stroumf or help in preparation of the manuscriptT.h is work was supportedin part by United StatesP ublic Health ServicesG rants DA-04381,T 32-DA-07239a, nd AI-27661 and a grant from HennepinF acultyA ssociates.


  • Human brain cell culture
  • Human immunodeficiency virus-1
  • Microglia
  • Morphine
  • Tumor necrosis- factor-α


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