Little information is available regarding whether substance abuse enhances hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication and promotes HCV disease progression. We investigated whether morphine alters HCV mRNA expression in HCV replicon-containing liver cells. Morphine significantly increased HCV mRNA expression, an effect which could be abolished by either of the opioid receptor antagonists, naltrexone or β-funaltrexamine. Investigation of the mechanism responsible for this enhancement of HCV replicon expression demonstrated that morphine activated NF-κB promoter and that caffeic acid phenethyl ester, a specific inhibitor of the activation of NF-κB, blocked morphine-activated HCV RNA expression. In addition, morphine compromised the anti-HCV effect of interferon alpha (IFN-α). Our in vitro data indicate that morphine may play an important role as a positive regulator of HCV replication in human hepatic cells and may compromise IFN-α therapy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||American Journal of Pathology|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2003|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine