Decreased Whole Blood RNA Expression of Cathelicidin in HIV-Infected Heroin Users in Bandung, Indonesia
SourceViral Immunology, 27, 10, (2014), pp. 551-555
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
Abstract The antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin is critical in killing pathogens by innate immune cells, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Candida albicans. These pathogens often cause infections in opioid users, a risk that is greatly increased with concurrent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Therefore, we examined the association between opioid use and cathelicidin in HIV-infected subjects from Bandung, Indonesia. The following three groups of HIV-infected individuals were included: (i) Active drug users: used heroin in the last 30 days; (ii) Methadone clients: received methadone maintenance therapy in the last 30 days; and (iii) CONTROLS: never used opioids or did not use opioids in the year preceding inclusion. In addition to interviews, blood samples were taken to examine the RNA expression of cathelicidin. We found that the RNA expression of cathelicidin was significantly decreased (p=0.007) in heroin users, compared with controls. Opioids are associated with immunosuppression, and cathelicidin could be an important factor in this association. However, more research is needed to examine the direct effects of decreased cathelicidin levels.
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