Changes in lymphocyte and macrophage subsets due to morphine and ethanol treatment during a retrovirus infection causing murine aids

Ronald Ross Watson, Rao H. Prabhala, Hamid R. Darban, M. Danial Yahya, Thomas L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Infection by LP-BM5 murine leukemia virus (MuLV) suppressed significantly the percentage of peripheral blood cells showing surface markers for macrophages, lymphocytes and activated lymphoid cells. Chronic administration of a 7% (36% calories) ethanol diet or injection of 1.9 mg/mouse/day of morphine for a 7 day period were followed by 3 week periods of abstinence and then 1 week periods of consumption of 5% ethanol diets or morphine injection to female C57BL/6 mice resulted in changes in the numbers of macrophages and lymphocyte subsets. The number of lymphocytes of various subsets were not significantly changed by the ethanol exposure except those showing activation markers which were reduced. The percentage of peripheral blood cells showing markers for macrophage functions and their activation were significantly reduced after "binge" use of ethanol. Ethanol retarded suppression of cells by retroviral infection. However by 25 weeks of infection there was a 8.6% survival in the ethanol fed mice infected with retrovirus which was much less than virally infected controls (45.0%). Morphine treatment also increased the percentage of cells with markers for macrophages and activated macrophages in virally infected mice, while suppressing them in uninfected mice. The second and third morphine injection series suppressed lymphocyte T-helper and T-suppressor cells, but not total T cells. However, suppression by morphine was significantly less during retroviral disease than suppression caused by the virus only. At 25 weeks of infection 44.8% of morphine treated, infected mice survived. Morphine treatment also caused deaths such that the survival in morphine treated, retrovirally infected was higher than would have been expected if the death rate in virally infected, and morphine injected animals were combined during combined treatment. Thus these drugs of abuse can modulate peripheral blood lymphoid subsets, suppression caused by retroviral infection, and survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)v-xi
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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