Under certain conditions THC enhances HIV antigen-specific immune responses. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Modulation of HIVGP120 Antigen-Specific Immune Responses In Vivo byΔ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.
J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2015 Jun ;10(2):344-55. Epub 2015 Apr 22. PMID: 25900076
Approximately 25 % of HIV patients use marijuana for its putative therapeutic benefit; however, it is unknown how cannabinoids affect the immune status of HIV patients. Previously, a surrogate in vitro mouse model was established, which induced CD8(+) T cell proliferation and gp120-specific IFNγ production. ∆(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the predominant psychoactive compound in marijuana, suppressed or enhanced the responses depending on the magnitude of cellular activation. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether THC produced similar effects in vivo and therefore a mouse model to induce HIVgp120-specific immune responses was established. A gp120-expressing plasmid, pVRCgp120, or a vector plasmid, pVRC2000, was injected intramuscularly into mice, which were also dosed with THC orally. The gp120-specific IFNγ and IL-2 responses were detected when splenocytes were restimulated with gp120-derived peptide 81 (IIGDIRQAHCNISRA), which was identified as being immunodominant. Various cellular populations were activated in response to pVRCgp120 stimulation followed by peptide restimulation, as evidenced by increased expression levels of activation markers (e.g., CD69, CD80, and major histocompatibility complex II [MHC II]). The IFNγ response and cellular activation were enhanced by THC in C57Bl/6 wild type (WT) mice but suppressed or not affected by THC in cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) knockout (CB1 (-/-)CB2 (-/-)) mice. Furthermore, CB1 (-/-)CB2 (-/-) mice exhibited augmented IFNγ production when compared to WT mice in the absence of THC. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that under certain conditions, THC enhances HIV antigen-specific immune responses, which occurs through CB1/CB2-dependent and -independent mechanisms.