Background: HIV infection and drugs of abuse such as methamphetamine (METH), cocaine, and alcohol use have been identified as risk factors for triggering inflammation. Acute phase proteins such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) are the biomarkers of inflammation. Hence, the interactive effect of drugs of abuse with acute phase proteins in HIV-positive subjects was investigated.
Methods: Plasma samples were utilized from 75 subjects with METH use, cocaine use, alcohol use, and HIV-positive alone and HIV-positive METH, cocaine, and alcohol users, and age-matched control subjects. The plasma CRP and SAA levels were measured by ELISA and western blot respectively and the CD4 counts were also measured.
Results: Observed results indicated that the CRP and SAA levels in HIV-positive subjects who are METH, cocaine and alcohol users were significantly higher when compared with either drugs of abuse or HIV-positive alone. The CD4 counts were also dramatically reduced in HIV-positive with drugs of abuse subjects compared with only HIV-positive subjects.
Conclusions: These results suggest that, in HIV-positive subjects, drugs of abuse increase the levels of CRP and SAA, which may impact on the HIV infection and disease progression.