Can marijuana protect the immune system against HIV and slow disease progression?

February 18, 2014
©2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New evidence that chronic intake of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, can protect critical immune tissue in the gut from the damaging effects of HIV infection is reported in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

Patricia Molina and coauthors from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, report that chronic THC administration was associated with greater survival of T cell populations and reduced overall cell death in the gut in monkeys, which is known to be a key target for simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication and infection-related inflammation. The researchers present their findings in the article "Modulation of Gut-Specific Mechanisms by Chronic Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Administration in Male Rhesus Macaques Infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus: A Systems Biology Analysis." This report provides mechanistic insights into their previous observation that THC administration attenuates in SIV infected macaques (AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 2011; 27: 585-592)

"To better treat HIV infection, we need a better understanding of how it causes the disease we call AIDS. We also need alternative approaches to treatment," says Thomas Hope, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses and Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. "This study is important because it begins to explain how THC can influence disease progression in SIV-infected macaques. It also reveals a new way to slow disease progression."

Explore further: Why Some Monkeys Don't Get AIDS

More information: The article is available free on the AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses website at http://www.liebertpub.com/aid.

Related Stories

Why Some Monkeys Don't Get AIDS

December 3, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two studies published this month in the Journal of Clinical Investigation provide a significant advance in understanding how some species of monkeys such as sooty mangabeys and African green monkeys avoid ...

Immune cells in the gut may improve control of HIV growth

June 11, 2012

The findings of a new study in monkeys may help clarify why some people infected with HIV are better able to control the virus. They also may pinpoint a target for treatment during early HIV infection aimed at increasing ...

Could probiotics help HIV patients?

January 16, 2013

Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are the first line therapy for patients with HIV; however, ARV-treated, HIV-infected individuals still have a higher mortality rate than uninfected individuals. During the course of infection, HIV ...

New microsphere-based methods for detecting HIV antibodies

May 23, 2013

Detection of HIV antibodies is used to diagnose HIV infection and monitor trials of experimental HIV/AIDS vaccines. New, more sensitive detection systems being developed use microspheres to capture HIV antibodies and can ...

Recommended for you

Mutational tug of war over HIV's disease-inducing potential

August 23, 2016

A study from Emory AIDS researchers shows how the expected disease severity when someone is newly infected by HIV reflects a balance between the virus' invisibility to the host's immune system and its ability to reproduce.

Dormant copies of HIV mostly defective, new study shows

August 8, 2016

After fully sequencing the latent HIV "provirus" genomes from 19 people being treated for HIV, scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that even in patients who start treatment very early, the only widely available method ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.