Despite the effectiveness of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) in suppressing virus replication, chronic inflammation remains one of the cardinal features intersecting HIV-1, cART, drug abuse, and likely contributes to the accelerated neurocognitive decline and aging in people living with HIV-1 (PLWH) that abuse drugs. It is also estimated that ~30-60% of PLWH on cART develop cognitive deficits associated with HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), with symptomatology ranging from asymptomatic to mild, neurocognitive impairments. Adding further complexity to HAND is the comorbidity of drug abuse in PLWH involving activated immune responses and the release of neurotoxins, which, in turn, mediate neuroinflammation. Premature or accelerated aging is another feature of drug abusing PLWH on cART regimes. Emerging studies implicate the role of HIV-1/HIV-1 proteins, cART, and abused drugs in altering the inflammasome signaling in the central nervous system (CNS) cells. It is thus likely that exposure of these cells to HIV-1/HIV-1 proteins, cART, and/or abused drugs could have synergistic/additive effects on the activation of inflammasomes, in turn, leading to exacerbated neuroinflammation, ultimately resulting in premature aging referred to as "inflammaging" In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of inflammasome activation, neuroinflammation, and aging in central nervous system (CNS) cells such as microglia, astrocytes, and neurons in the context of HIV-1 and drug abuse.
- drug abuse
- proinflammatory cytokines