Effects of Morphine on Behavioral Task Performance in SIV-Infected Rhesus Macaques

Joanne K. Marcario, Gurudutt Pendyala, Mariam Riazi, Kandace Fleming, Janet Marquis, Shannon Callen, Steven J. Lisco, Stephen C. Fowler, Paul D. Cheney, Shilpa J. Buch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The abuse of opiates such as morphine in synergy with HIV infection not only exacerbates neuropathogenesis but significantly impacts behavioral attributes in HIV infected subjects. Thus, the goal of the current study was to characterize behavioral perturbations in rhesus macaques subjected to chronic morphine and SIV infection. Specifically, we assessed three behavioral tasks: motor skill (MS), forelimb force (FFT) and progressive ratio (PR) tasks. After collecting baseline control data (44 weeks) and data during the morphine-only dependency period (26 weeks), a subset of animals were productively infected with neurovirulent strains of SIVmac (R71/E17) for an additional 33 weeks. A general pattern in the results is that behavioral decline occurred with high CSF viral loads but not necessarily with high plasma viral loads. Compared to saline controls, all treated animals showed significant decreases in performance on all three behavioral tasks during the morphine-only dependency period. During the post infection period, only the morphine plus SIV group showed a significant further decline and this only occurred for the MS task. Taken together, these data demonstrate a clear effect of morphine to produce behavioral deficits and also suggest that morphine can act synergistically with SIV/HIV to exacerbate behavioral deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-357
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • AIDS
  • Behavior
  • Forelimb force
  • Morphine
  • Motor skill
  • Progressive ratio
  • SIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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