Novel nanoformulation to mitigate co-effects of drugs of abuse and HIV-1 infection: towards the treatment of NeuroAIDS

J Neurovirol. 2017 Aug;23(4):603-614. doi: 10.1007/s13365-017-0538-8. Epub 2017 Jul 31.


Drug abuse (e.g., methamphetamine-Meth or cocaine-Coc) is one of the major risk factors for becoming infected with HIV-1, and studies show that in combination, drug abuse and HIV-1 lead to significantly greater damage to CNS. To overcome these issues, we have developed a novel nanoformulation (NF) for drug-abusing population infected with HIV-1. In this work, a novel approach was developed for the co-encapsulation of Nelfinavir (Nel) and Rimcazole (Rico) using layer-by-layer (LbL) assembled magnetic nanoformulation for the cure of neuroAIDS. Developed NF was evaluated for blood-brain barrier (BBB) transmigration, cell uptake, cytotoxicity and efficacy (p24 assay) in HIV-1 infected primary astrocyte (HA) in presence or absence of Coc and Meth. Developed magnetic nanoformulation (NF) fabricated using the LbL approach exhibited higher amounts of drug loading (Nel and Rico) with 100% release of both the therapeutic agents in a sustained manner for 8 days. NF efficacy studies indicated a dose-dependent decrease in p24 levels in HIV-1-infected HA (~55%) compared to Coc + Meth treated (~50%). The results showed that Rico significantly subdued the effect of drugs of abuse on HIV infectivity. NF successfully transmigrated (38.8 ± 6.5%) across in vitro BBB model on the application of an external magnetic field and showed >90% of cell viability with efficient cell uptake. In conclusion, our proof of concept study revealed that sustained and concurrent release of sigma σ1 antagonist and anti-HIV drug from the developed novel sustained release NF can overcome the exacerbated effects of drugs of abuse in HIV infection and may solve the issue of medication adherence in the drug-abusing HIV-1 infected population.

Keywords: Blood-brain-barrier (BBB); Drugs of abuse; Magnetic nanoparticle; NeuroAIDS; Sustain release formulation.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / drug therapy
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Carbazoles / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cocaine / chemistry
  • Cocaine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / pharmacokinetics*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / chemistry
  • Illicit Drugs / pharmacokinetics*
  • Magnets / chemistry
  • Methamphetamine / chemistry
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Nanostructures / chemistry
  • Nelfinavir / pharmacokinetics*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / prevention & control


  • Carbazoles
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Methamphetamine
  • rimcazole
  • Nelfinavir
  • Cocaine