Despite the advent of antiretroviral therapy, complications of HIV-1 infection with concurrent drug abuse are an emerging problem. Morphine, often abused by HIV-infected patients, is known to accelerate neuroinflammation associated with HIV-1 infection. Detailed molecular mechanisms of morphine action however, remain poorly understood. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) has been implicated in a number of pathological conditions, primarily due to its potent mitogenic and permeability effects. Whether morphine exposure results in enhanced vascular permeability in brain endothelial cells, likely via induction of PDGF, remains to be established. In the present study, we demonstrated morphine-mediated induction of PDGF-BB in human brain microvascular endothelial cells, an effect that was abrogated by the opioid receptor antagonist-naltrexone. Pharmacological blockade (cell signaling) and loss-of-function (Egr-1) approaches demonstrated the role of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), PI3K/Akt and the downstream transcription factor Egr-1 respectively, in morphine-mediated induction of PDGF-BB. Functional significance of increased PDGF-BB manifested as increased breach of the endothelial barrier as evidenced by decreased expression of the tight junction protein ZO-1 in an in vitro model system. Understanding the regulation of PDGF expression may provide insights into the development of potential therapeutic targets for intervention of morphine-mediated neuroinflammation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)