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Cocaine Use may Increase Vulnerability to HIV Infection

by Bidita Debnath on October 3, 2013 at 11:29 PM
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 Cocaine Use may Increase Vulnerability to HIV Infection

A new study suggests that cocaine use could increase a person's vulnerability to HIV infection.

In the report, scientists show that cocaine alters immune cells, called "quiescent CD4 T cells," to render them more susceptible to the virus, and at the same time, to allow for increased proliferation of the virus.

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Senior author Dimitrios N. Vatakis, Ph.D., scientist with UCLA's Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology and the UCLA AIDS Institute, said that they ultimately hope that their studies will provide a better understanding of how drugs of abuse impact how our body defends itself against disease.

For the study, scientists collected blood from healthy human donors and isolated quiescent CD4 T cells, and exposed them to cocaine and subsequently infected them with HIV.
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Following infection, researchers monitored the progression of HIV's life cycle and compared this progression against that of untreated cells. They found that cocaine rendered this subset of CD4 T cells susceptible to HIV, resulting in significant infection and new virus production.

The research has been published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

Source: ANI
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