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J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2016 Sep;11(3):495-510. doi: 10.1007/s11481-016-9699-0. Epub 2016 Aug 2.

Effects of HIV and Methamphetamine on Brain and Behavior: Evidence from Human Studies and Animal Models.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0603, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0603, USA.
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld, Australia.


Methamphetamine (Meth) use is frequent among HIV-infected persons. Combined HIV and Meth insults may exacerbate neural injury in vulnerable neuroanatomic structures or circuitries in the brain, leading to increased behavioral disturbance and cognitive impairment. While acute and chronic effects of Meth in humans and animal models have been studied for decades, the neurobehavioral effects of Meth in the context of HIV infection are much less explored. In-depth understanding of the scope of neurobehavioral phenotypes and mechanisms in HIV/Meth intersection is needed. The present report summarizes published research findings, as well as unpublished data, in humans and animal models with regard to neurobehavioral disturbance, neuroimaging, and neuropathology, and in vitro experimental systems, with an emphasis on findings emerging from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC). Results from human studies and animal (primarily HIV-1 gp120 transgenic mouse) models thus far suggest that combined HIV and Meth insults increase the likelihood of neural injury in the brain. The neurobehavioral effects include cognitive impairment and increased tendencies toward impaired behavioral inhibition and social cognition. These impairments are relevant to behaviors that affect personal and social risks, e.g. worse medication adherence, riskier behaviors, and greater likelihood of HIV transmission. The underlying mechanisms may include electrochemical changes in neuronal circuitries, injury to white matter microstructures, synaptodendritic damage, and selective neuronal loss. Utilization of research methodologies that are valid across species is instrumental in generating new knowledge with clinical translational value.


Cognition; Inhibition; Neuroimaging; Neuropathology; Tat; gp120

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