Co­caine use can make oth­er­wise re­sis­tant im­mune cells sus­cep­ti­ble to HIV

Wellness Update - - Contents -

LOS AN­GE­LES

Anew unique UCLA pop­u­la­tion study shows of im­mune co­caine cells af­fects called a qui­es­cent virus that causes CD4 T cells, AIDS. which Co­caine are makes re­sis­tant the to cells the sus­cep­ti­ble to in­fec­tion with HIV, caus­ing both sig­nif­i­cant in­fec­tion and new pro­duc­tion of the virus. In many ways, the spread of HIV has been fu­eled by sub­stance abuse. Shared nee­dles and drug users’ high­risk sex­ual be­hav­iors are just some of the ways that nar­cotics such as co­caine have played a key role in the AIDS epi­demic in much of the world. “The sur­pris­ing re­sult was that the changes co­caine in­duced on th­ese cells were very min­i­mal, yet they were suf­fi­cient to fuel in­fec­tion,” said Dimitrios Vatakis, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of medicine in the di­vi­sion of hema­tol­ogy/on­col­ogy at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s se­nior au­thor. “We found that co­caine me­di­ates its ef­fects di­rectly, in­duc­ing min­i­mal changes in the phys­i­ol­ogy of th­ese cells and uti­liz­ing the same path­ways it uses to tar­get the brain.” Re­searchers found a three-day ex­po­sure to co­caine made the cells more sus­cep­ti­ble to HIV in­fec­tion by stim­u­lat­ing two re­cep­tors in the cells, called 1 and D4. The find­ings sug­gest that co­caine use in­creases the pool of T cells in the hu­man body that can be­come in­fected by the virus.

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