Neurocognitive and neuroinflammatory correlates of PDYN and OPRK1 mRNA expression in the anterior cingulate in postmortem brain of HIV-infected subjects

TitleNeurocognitive and neuroinflammatory correlates of PDYN and OPRK1 mRNA expression in the anterior cingulate in postmortem brain of HIV-infected subjects
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsYuferov, V, Butelman, ER, Ho, A, Morgello, S, Kreek, MJ
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Date Published01/2014

Chronic inflammation may contribute to neuropsychological impairments in individuals with HIV, and modulation of this inflammatory response by opiate receptor ligands is important in light of the prevalence of drug use in HIV populations. Exogenous MOR and KOR agonists have differential effects on central nervous system (CNS) immunity and, while some data suggest KOR agonists are immunosuppressive, the KOR agonist dynorphin has been shown to stimulate human monocyte chemotaxis. In this study, we examined mRNA levels of endogenous opioid receptors OPRK1 and OPRM1, prodynorphin (PDYN), macrophage scavenger receptor CD163, and microglia/macrophage marker CD68 in the caudate and anterior cingulate of postmortem brains from HIV-positive and HIV-negative subjects. Brain tissues of HIV-infected (n = 24) and control subjects (n = 15) were obtained from the Manhattan HIV Brain Bank. Quantification of the gene mRNA was performed using SYBR Green RT-PCR. CD68 and CD163 were increased in HIV-positive (HIV+) compared to HIV-negative (HIV-) individuals in both brain regions. There were higher OPRK1 (P <0.005), and lower PDYN mRNA (P <0.005) levels in the anterior cingulate of HIV+ compared to HIV- subjects. This difference between the clinical groups was not found in the caudate. There was no difference in the levels of OPRM1 mRNA between HIV+ and HIV- subjects. Using linear regression analysis, we examined the relationship of OPRK1 and PDYN mRNA levels in the HIV+ subjects with seven cognitive domain T scores of a neuropsychological test battery. Within the HIV+ subjects, there was a positive correlation between anterior cingulate PDYN mRNA levels and better T-scores in the motor domain. Within the HIV+ subjects there were also positive correlations of both OPRK1 and PDYN mRNA levels with the anti-inflammatory marker CD163, but not with proinflammatory CD68 levels. In this setting, decreased PDYN mRNA may reflect a homeostatic mechanism to reduce monocyte migration, accompanied by compensatory increases in the cognate receptor (KOR) to dampen pro-inflammatory responses. It is possible that enhanced neuroprotection and better motor performance are associated with higher levels of dynorphin and the recruitment of neuroprotective CD163-positive macrophages. Further studies are needed to test this hypothesis.