Ameliorative Effects of Minor Cannabinoids over HIV-1 Tat-Mediated Visceral Pain (2022)

Worth, C. (2022). Ameliorative Effects of Minor Cannabinoids over HIV-1 Tat-Mediated Visceral Pain. [Honors Theses, University of Mississippi], 2619.


As the total number of people living with HIV continues to rise across the world, an effective HIV treatment is still sought after. While modern-day advanced therapies exist for mitigating much of the negative effects of HIV, the virus remains evasive and problematic in the central nervous system. Thus, even with treatment, many people living with HIV continue to suffer from a plethora of symptoms. However, a large proportion of HIV-positive patients claim to feel a reduction in those persevering symptoms after cannabis usage. This anecdotal evidence has sparked interest in the efficacy of cannabis constituents for HIV therapy. This investigation first studies the in vitro effects of a known anti-inflammatory, corticosterone, on human microglial cells that were exposed to one of the most well-characterized HIV virotoxins, the transactivator of transcription (Tat). Tat is known to cause significant impairments in central nervous system processes through several proinflammatory mechanisms, and corticosterone was shown to curtail these inflammatory effects. In addition, Tat expression was also shown to be correlated with worsened cognitive functioning in vivo, as seen by poorer performances of mice expressing Tat in a 5-choice serial reaction time test. Finally, several minor cannabinoids were shown to reduce peripheral pain in Tat-expressing mice in an acetic acid writhing assay.