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GW researcher studies the dangerous effects of cocaine on HIV patients
Date:3/21/2013

uals.

"As the population is getting older, we are having a lot of instances of HIV episodic dementia known as HIV Associated Dementia (HAD)," said Tyagi. "Drug abuse induces these problems, even in younger HIV patients, and escalates them in older patients."

Additionally, drug abusers have a higher risk of getting infected with HIV through sharing needles and having unprotected sex.

Tyagi's research will focus on the study of the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of HIV gene expression and replication by cocaine in two primary macrophage cells, microglial (residential macrophage cells of brain) and peripheral macrophages (the circulating macrophage cells). Cocaine is known to modulate expression of several cellular genes by inducing selective chromatin modifications that regulate a specific set of enzymes. His team of researchers will investigate how gene expression of integrated HIV provirus is affected by cocaine-induced selective core histones acetylations in those primary cells. These modifications ultimately contribute to a more rapid deterioration of the immune and nervous systems, which is quite prevalent in HIV patients who abuse drugs.

This work is expected to lead towards the discovery of new mechanisms to regulate HIV replication in the context of drug abuse. A better understanding of these mechanisms could reveal new drug targets and open up new avenues for improved pharmaceutical interventions in HIV patients who are addicted to drugs.


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Contact: Lisa Anderson
lisama2@gwu.edu
202-994-3121
George Washington University
Source:Eurekalert

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