“Background: Marijuana’s putative anti-inflammatory properties may benefit HIV-associated comorbidities. How recreational marijuana use affects gene expression in peripheral blood cells (PBC) among youth with HIV-1 (YWH) is unknown.
Approach: YWH with defined substance use (n = 54) receiving similar antiretroviral therapy (ART) were assigned to one of four analysis groups: YWH with detectable plasma HIV-1 (> 50 RNA copies/ml) who did not use substances (H+V+S-), and YWH with undetectable plasma HIV-1 who did not use substances (H+V-S-), or used marijuana alone (H+V-S+[M]), or marijuana in combination with tobacco (H+V-S+[M/T]). Non-substance using youth without HIV infection (H-S-, n = 25) provided a reference group. PBC mRNA was profiled by Affymetrix GeneChip Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array. Differentially expressed genes (DEG) within outcome groups were identified by Significance Analysis of Microarrays and used for Hierarchical Clustering, Principal Component Analysis, and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis.
Results: HIV-1 replication resulted in > 3000 DEG involving 27 perturbed pathways. Viral suppression reduced DEG to 313, normalized all 27 pathways, and down-regulated two additional pathways, while marijuana use among virally suppressed YWH resulted in 434 DEG and no perturbed pathways. Relative to H+V-S-, multiple DEG normalized in H+V-S+[M]. In contrast, H+V-S+[M/T] had 1140 DEG and 10 dysregulated pathways, including multiple proinflammatory genes and six pathways shared by H+V+S-.
Conclusions: YWH receiving ART display unique transcriptome bioprofiles based on viral replication and substance use. In the context of HIV suppression, marijuana use, alone or combined with tobacco, has opposing effects on inflammatory gene expression.”
“Cannabis is effective in the treatment of HIV-associated peripheral neuropathic pain, improves appetite, and enhances overall quality of life in people with HIV. There is emerging evidence that marijuana use attenuates pro-inflammatory pathways in HIV-infected adults, as well as in non-human primates infected with simian immunodeficiency virus.”