American Journal of Infectious Diseases

Role of HIV-1 Infection in Addictive Behavior: A Study of a HIV-1 Transgenic Rat Model

Sulie L. Chang and Michael Vigorito

DOI : 10.3844/ajidsp.2006.98.106

American Journal of Infectious Diseases

Volume 2, Issue 2

Pages 98-106


Epidemiological research indicates that drug abuse is prevalent among individuals infected with HIV-1. Evidence from preclinical research also suggests that drugs of abuse exacerbate the progression of neuropathological changes in the HIV-1 infected brain probably through common mechanisms of neuronal injury. The effects of HIV-1 on the efficacy and abuse potential of controlled drugs such as morphine, however, has not been explored. The current study reports that the noninfectious HIV-1 transgenic (HIV-1 Tg) rat shows up-regulated expression of the mu opioid receptor (MOR) at the transcriptional level and functional supersensitivity to morphine, a MOR agonist. Compared to nontransgenic control rats, the HIV-1 Tg rats also show greater motivation to run in a wheel, a behavior that is known to be associated with increased drug self-administration. These results suggest the potential role of HIV-1 infection in enhancing vulnerability to addiction and this possibility warrants further investigation to better understand the link between HIV-1 infection and the abuse of drugs including opioids.


© 2006 Sulie L. Chang and Michael Vigorito. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.