Altered monocyte phenotype and dysregulated innate cytokine responses among people living with HIV and opioid-use disorder

Michelle L. Underwood, Thuan Nguyen, Luke S. Uebelhoer, Lynn E. Kunkel, Philip T. Korthuis, Christina L. Lancioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Opioid-use disorders (OUD) and hepatitis C or B co-infection (HEP) are common among people living with HIV (PLHIV). The impact of OUD on innate and adaptive immunity among PLHIV with and without HEP is unknown.Objectives:To investigate the impact of OUD on monocyte and T-cell phenotypes, cytokine responses to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and phytohemagglutinin (PHA), and plasma inflammatory markers, among PLHIV with and without HEP.Methods:Cross-sectional study enrolling PLHIV receiving ART, with and without OUD. Flow cytometry determined monocyte and T-cell phenotypes; LPS and PHA-induced cytokine production was assessed following LPS and PHA stimulation by multiplex cytokine array; plasma IL-6, soluble CD163, and soluble CD14 were measured by ELISA.Results:Twenty-two PLHIV with OUD and 37 PLHIV without OUD were included. PLHIV with OUD exhibited higher frequencies of intermediate (CD14++CD16+) and nonclassical (CD14dimCD16+) monocytes when compared with PLHIV without OUD (P = 0.0025; P = 0.0001, respectively), regardless of HEP co-infection. Soluble CD163 and monocyte cell surface CD163 expression was increased among PLHIV with OUD and HEP, specifically. Regardless of HEP co-infection, PLHIV with OUD exhibited reduced production of IL-10, IL-8, IL-6, IL-1alpha, and TNF-alpha in response to LPS when compared with PLHIV without OUD; PHA-induced production of IL-10, IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha were also reduced among individuals with OUD.Conclusion:OUD among PLHIV are associated with altered monocyte phenotypes and a dysregulated innate cytokine response. Defining underlying mechanisms of opioid-associated innate immune dysregulation among PLHIV should be prioritized to identify optimal OUD treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • HIV
  • cytokine
  • hepatitis C
  • innate immunity
  • opioid-use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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