Morphine Potentiates Dysbiotic Microbial and Metabolic Shifts in Acute SIV Infection

Gregory M. Sindberg, Shannon E. Callen, Santanu Banerjee, Jingjing Meng, Vanessa L. Hale, Ramakrishna Hegde, Paul D. Cheney, Francois Villinger, Sabita Roy, Shilpa Buch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) pathogenesis has been closely linked with microbial translocation, which is believed to drive inflammation and HIV replication. Opioid drugs have been shown to worsen this symptom, leading to a faster progression of HIV infection to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The interaction of HIV and opioid drugs has not been studied at early stages of HIV, particularly in the gut microbiome where changes may precede translocation events. This study modeled early HIV infection by examining Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV)-infected primates at 21 days or less both independently and in the context of opioid use. Fecal samples were analyzed both for 16S analysis of microbial populations as well as metabolite profiles via mass spectrometry. Our results indicate that changes are minor in SIV treated animals in the time points examined, however animals treated with morphine and SIV had significant changes in their microbial communities and metabolic profiles. This occurred in a time-independent fashion with morphine regardless of how long the animal had morphine in its system. Globally, the observed changes support that microbial dysbiosis is occurring in these animals at an early time, which likely contributes to the translocation events observed later in SIV/HIV pathogenesis. Additionally, metabolic changes were predictive of specific treatment groups, which could be further developed as a diagnostic tool or future intervention target to overcome and slow the progression of HIV infection to AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-214
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019


  • HIV pathogenesis
  • Intestine metabolism
  • Intestine microbiome
  • Non-human primates
  • Opioids
  • SIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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