Dissident AIDS Database

Co-factorsRecreational drugsHeroinLymphocytopenia
Frequent injecting impairs lymphocyte reactivity in HIV-positive and HIV-negative drug users.
 Mientjes, G. H., Miedema, F., van Ameijden, E. J., van den Hoek, A. A., Schellekens, P. T. A., Roos, M. T. and Coutinho, R. A.
  Lymphocyte reactivity and abundance was depressed by the absolute number of injections of drugs not only in 111 HIV-positive, but also in 210 HIV-free drug users from Holland. The T-cell reactivity was 40-50% lower in IVDUs who were injecting 3 times a day for the preceding several months when compared to a similar group who had not injected in the preceding months, regardless of their HIV status. "We conclude that lymphocyte reactivity is depressed by frequent injecting in both HIV-negative and HIV-positive drug users".
  AIDS 5: 35-41, 19911991
Development of AIDS, HIV seroconversion, and potential cofactors for CD4 cell loss in a cohort of intravenous drug users.
 Des Jarlais DC, Friedman SR, Marmor M et al.
  Lymphocytes were found to be reduced in HIV-positive injection drug users as a direct function of how many injections they received. "Continued drug injection was associated with the rate of CD4 cell loss... While it is not possible to distinguish the mechanism underlying the relationship between continued drug injection and CD4 cell loss, seropositive IV drug users should be warned that continued injections may lead to increased HIV-related immunosuppression." The incidence of AIDS diseases among HIV-positive intravenous drug users over 16 months was 19% (23/124) and only 5% (5/93) among those who stopped injecting drugs.
  AIDS july 1987 1(2): 105-111.1987
CD4 lymphocytopenia among injecting drug users in New York City.
 Des Jarlais DC et al.
  "CD4 cell counts and percentages were obtained from 1,246 HIV-seronegative subjects. Nine had at least one CD4 cell count of <300 cells/microliter or a CD4[:CD8 ratio] <20%...Four subjects had CD4 counts <300 cells/microliter or CD4 < 20% for two points in time, meeting the current surveillance definition for ICL [HIV-free AIDS]...We ... examined the data for the 21 subjects who had one CD4 count between 300 and 500 cells/microliter and for whom there was at least one follow-up data collection."
  JAIDS. 1993;6:820-2.1993
New evidence to reconcile in vitro and epidemiologic data on the possible role of heroin on CD4+ decline among HIV-infected injecting drug users
 Krol A, Flynn C, Vlahov D, Miedema F, Coutinho RA, van Ameijden EJ
  "Long-term effects of drug type and other drug use related risk factors on CD4+ cell decline were assessed in 224 HIV-infected injecting drug users (IDUs) from Baltimore (ALIVE), USA, and 63 IDUs from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Higher frequencies of borrowing used injection equipment since 1980 resulted in a higher CD4+ count already present before seroconversion (P = 0.049). Use of mainly heroin in the seroconversion interval resulted in a sharper CD4+ decline until the first 6 months after seroconversion (P = 0.004), but CD4+ values converged later on. This finding might reconcile earlier discordant epidemiological and laboratory study results regarding the possible effects of heroin."
  Drug Alcohol Depend 1999 Apr 1;54(2):145-541999
Continued drug use and other cofactors for progression to AIDS among injecting drug users.
 Ronald PJ, Robertson JR, Elton RA.
  "A total of 156 HIV-infected injecting drug users. Of this group, 48% will have progressed to AIDS 10 years after seroconversion. Age and low absolute T4 counts had a significant effect on progression to AIDS, with older patients progressing more rapidly. Sex had no significant effects on progression. Absolute CD4+ counts and the CD4:CD8 ratio were significant predictors of progression among the group. Concurrent heroin injecting increased the risk of progression to AIDS... Our findings suggest that continued drug use may have an accelerating effect on progression to AIDS."
  AIDS 1994 Mar;8(3):339-431994
Diagnostic confusion from lymphatic lesions in heroin addicts.
 Geller, S. A. and Stimmel, B.
  No abstract / Pubmed
  Ann. Intern. Med. 78: 703-705, 19731973
Physical effects of heroin addiction.
 Pillari, G. and Narus, J.
  No abstract / Pubmed
  Am. J. Nursing 73: 2105-2109, 19731973
High prevalence of infection by hepatitis B virus and HIV in incarcerated French drug addicts.
 Espinoza, P., Bouchard, I., Buffet, C., Thiers, V., Pillot, J. and Etienne, J. P.
  Among intravenous drug users in France, lymphadenopathy was observed in 41 and an over 10% weight loss in 15 out of 69 HIV-positives. The numbers were 12 and 8, respectively, out of 44 HIV-negatives. The French group had used drugs for an average of 5 years, but the HIV-positives had injected drugs about 50% longer than the negatives.
  Gastroenterologie Clinique et Biologique 11: 288-292, 19871987
Risk reduction of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome among intravenous drug users.
 Des Jarlais, D. C., Friedman, S. R. and Hopkins, W.
  The same lymphadenopathy, weight loss, fever, night sweats, diarrhea and mouth infections were observed in 49 out of 82 HIV-free, and in 89 out of 136 HIV-positive, long-term intravenous drug users in New York
  AIDS and IV Drug Abusers: Current Perspectives, pp. 97-109, Galea, R. P., Lewis, B. F. and Baker, L. (eds.) National Health Publishing, Owings Mills, MD, 19881988
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in the United States: a selective review.
 Layon J, Warzynski M, Idris A.
  "Other diseases and some treatment regimens also can express a T-helper lymphopenia [deficiency], such as hospitalized non-AIDS IV drug abusers”
  Critical Care Medicine. 1986;14(9):819-27.1986
Alteration of T and null lymphocyte frequencies in the peripheral blood of human opiate addicts: In Vivo evidence for opiate receptor sites on T lymphocytes.
 McDonough RJ, Madden JJ, Falek A, et al.
  A report in the Journal of Immunology documented lowered T-lymphocytes in IVDUs from Georgia, Illinois, and Massachusetts. The authors found that IVDUs in their study had about half to one third as many T-lymphocytes, expressed as a percentage, as control populations. Although they did not look specifically at CD4+ T-lymphocytes, it has been found that when total T-lymphocytes are reduced, CD4 counts are also normally reduced. They discuss previous findings of opiate receptor sites on T-lymphocytes, suggesting that the IV opiates were the cause of the lowered T-cells.
  J Immunol, 1980 125(6); 2539-431980
Progression of HIV infection in misusers of injected drugs who stop injecting or follow a programme of maintenance treatment with methadone.
 Weber R, Ledergerber W, Opravil M, Siegenthaler W, Lüthy R.
  The T-cell counts of HIV-positive intravenous drug users from New York dropped 35% over 9 months, compared to HIV-positive controls who had stopped injecting.
  Br Med J 1990; 301: 1362-13651990
Alteration of T and null lymphocyte frequencies in the peripheral blood of human opiate addicts: in vivo evidence of opiate receptor sites on T lymphocytes.
 McDonough, R. J., Madden, J. J., Falek, A., Shafer, D. A., Pline, M., Gordon, D., Bokof, P., Kuehnle, J. C. and Mandelson, J.
  Street opiate addiction produces a significant depression in the absolute number of total T lymphocytes in peripheral blood as measured by the ability of the lymphocytes to rosette sheep red blood cells (SRBC). Associated with the decrease in T cells, there is an increase in the absolute number of null lymphocytes but no significant changes in B lymphocytes or total white blood cell count. The T cell values for 2 different populations of addicts (n = 12 and 32) are 31.8% and 23.1%, whereas the null cell values are 51.1% and 57.6%, respectively. The values for comparable control populations (n = 18 and 10) are: T% = 70.7% and 67.4%, and null % = 9.2% and 14.5%. Self-reported use of marihuana does not significantly alter the distribution of cell populations. A 1- to 3-hr incubation of addicted-derived lymphocytes with 10(-6) to 10(-7) M Naloxone reverses both T cell depression and null cell increase by allowing the null cells to express SRBC receptors. Cyclic AMP and dibutyryl cyclic AMP can also convert the null cells to T cells. The conversion of null to T lymphocytes has additionally been measured by monitoring the increase in PHA-stimulated growth in 72-hr cultures as determined by tritiated thymidine incorporation into DNA. These results support the hypothesis that opiates can alter T lymphocyte number and function in vivo, and that this alteration may produce a significant degeneration in the immune competence of street opiate addicts.
  J. Immunol. 125: 2539-2543, 1980.1980
Researchers discover how opiates cause immunosuppression
 Yufang Shi
  Yufang Shi and colleagues have been studying the role of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in the regulation of the immune system. One mechanism known to trigger apoptosis in lymphocytes involves a protein receptor called Fas. Cell death occurs when the Fas receptor, which is found on the surface of cells, binds with its agonist (a protein called FasL). Shi's team has discovered that opiates seem to increase the expression of Fas on the surface of lymphocytes. This causes a greater proportion of lymphocytes to die, which in turn contributes to a state of immunosuppression.
  Nature 1999;397:2181999
Alteration of T and null lymphocyte frequencies in the peripheral blood of human opiate addicts: In Vivo evidence for opiate receptor sites on T lymphocytes.
 McDonough RJ, Madden JJ, Falek A, et al.
  Since most street heroin addiction involves polydrug use including chronic use of marijuana, barbiturates, hallucinogens, and other illicit substances, the hypothesis can be proposed that the depression of T-lymphocyte percentage was caused by another drug or combination of drugs, or by the effect of drug use on the addict's general physical health and nutrition, i.e., the addict milieu.
  J Immunol, 1980 125(6); 2539-431980