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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Methamphetamine Use in HIV-infected Individuals Affects T-cell Function and Viral Outcome during Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy.

  • Author(s): Massanella, Marta;
  • Gianella, Sara;
  • Schrier, Rachel;
  • Dan, Jennifer M;
  • Pérez-Santiago, Josué;
  • Oliveira, Michelli F;
  • Richman, Douglas D;
  • Little, Susan J;
  • Benson, Constance A;
  • Daar, Eric S;
  • Dube, Michael P;
  • Haubrich, Richard H;
  • Smith, Davey M;
  • Morris, Sheldon R
  • et al.

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We investigated the associations between methamphetamine (meth) use, immune function, and the dynamics of HIV and cytomegalovirus [CMV] in the blood and genital tract of HIV-infected ART-suppressed subjects. Self-reported meth use was associated with increased CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell proliferation (Ki67(+), p < 0.005), CD4(+) T-cell activation (CD45RA(-)CD38(+), p = 0.005) and exhaustion (PD-1(+), p = 0.0004) in blood, compared to non-meth users. Meth use was also associated with a trend towards higher blood HIV DNA levels (p = 0.09) and more frequent shedding of CMV in seminal plasma (p = 0.002). To explore possible mechanisms, we compared ex vivo spontaneous and antigen-specific proliferation in PBMC collected from subjects with and without positive meth detection in urine (Utox+ vs. Utox-). Despite higher levels of spontaneous proliferation, lymphocytes from Utox+ meth users had a significantly lower proliferative capacity after stimulation with a number of pathogens (CMV, candida, mycobacterium, toxoplasma, HIV, p < 0.04 in all cases), compared to Utox- participants. Our findings suggest that meth users have greater proliferation and exhaustion of the immune system. Meth use is also associated with a loss of control of CMV replication, which could be related to loss of immune response to pathogens. Future studies should consider meth use as a potential modulator of T-cell responses.

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