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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Jan 1;120(1-3):105-12. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.07.009. Epub 2011 Aug 6.

Changes in the plasma proteome follows chronic opiate administration in simian immunodeficiency virus infected rhesus macaques.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 985800 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-5880, USA.



Substantive plasma proteomic changes follow lentiviral infection and disease pathobiology. We posit that such protein alterations are modified during drug abuse, further serving to affect the disease. To this end, we investigated the effect of opiate administration on the plasma proteome of Indian-strain rhesus monkeys infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) strain smm9.


Whole blood was collected at 7 weeks prior to and 1.4 and 49 weeks after viral infection. Viral load, CD4(+) T cell subsets, and plasma protein content were measured from monkeys that did or did not receive continuous opiate administrations. The plasma proteome was identified and quantified by isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation labeling (iTRAQ) and mass spectrometry.


While substantive changes in plasma proteins were seen during SIV infection, the addition of opiates led to suppression of these changes as well as increased variance of the proteome. These changes demonstrate that opiates induce broad but variant immune suppression in SIV-infected monkeys.


The broad suppressive changes seen in plasma of SIV-infected monkeys likely reflect reduced multisystem immune homeostatic responses induced by opiates. Such occur as a consequence of complex cell-to-cell interactions operative between the virus and the host. We conclude that such changes in plasma proteomic profiling may be underappreciated and as such supports the need for improved clinical definitions.

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