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The ‘Interactome’ of HIV and Opiate Abuse: Glia as Architects of Amplified CNS Damage, Pamela Knapp, PhD
October 7, 2016 @ 10:45 am - 11:10 am
Pamela Knapp, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth School of Medicine —
HIV and injection opiate abuse have been described as interlinked epidemics. Even in HIV+ patients receiving anti-retroviral treatments that dramatically reduce the peripheral viral load, those with current or past opiate use exhibit higher rates of CNS dysfunction, including both motor and cognitive deficits. Glial cells are involved in the pathologies associated with HIV and opiate abuse individually, and both astroglia and microglia appear to be central in orchestrating interactions that lead to greater neural deficits with combined exposure to HIV and opiates. The talk presents an overview of the HIV disease process in the CNS, and examines experimental data implicating glia as cellular architects of HIV-opiate interactions that enhance neurocognitive disease, through pathogenic mechanisms that involve losses in ion homeostasis, glutamate buffering, and aberrant chemokine signaling. Genetic issues that may influence the disease process, including opiate and chemokine receptor splice variants, are considered.