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Temple Researchers to Explore Combined Effects of Tobacco Smoke and Opiates on Tissue Damage that Commonly Occurs in HIV Patients

POSTED ON August 24, 2016

At least a third of HIV-positive individuals in the United States are intravenous opiate abusers, and at least two-thirds are also tobacco abusers. Both opiates and tobacco smoke are known to either directly cause, or contribute to, tissue damage in the brain, lungs and other organ systems. Moreover, opiate abuse is known to promote the damage in the brain which is caused by infection with HIV. Thanks to new funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) will explore the effects of the combination of tobacco smoke and opiates on the tissue damage that occurs in many patients infected with HIV.

The research is the first to address the combination of both opiates and tobacco smoke on the pathology of HIV infection. It is also among the first studies to assess tobacco smoke’s contribution to HIV-induced pathology in both the brain and the lungs. The research will be led by Yuri Persidsky, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at LKSOM, and Thomas Rogers, PhD, Director of the Center for Inflammation, Translational and Clinical Lung Research, Professor of Pharmacology and Associate Professor in the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at LKSOM.

The new award, which totals $3.25 million over five years, will enable the Temple Center for Inflammation, Translational and Clinical Lung Research (CILR) and the Department of Pathology at LKSOM to collaborate on this research. The team will utilize in vitro systems (primary human cells) and a ‘humanized’ mouse model of HIV-1 infection to analyze the effects of the combination of tobacco smoke and opiates on the tissue damage that commonly occurs with HIV infection.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01DA040619. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.