Fentanyl enhances HIV infection in vitro

Jie Yan, Dong hang Nie, Cheng si Bai, Abdul Rehman, An Yang, Xiao Li Mou, Yu qing Zhang, Ying qi Xu, Qing qing Xiang, Yu ting Ren, Jia le Xu, Mei rong Wang, Yong Feng, Xiao ping Chen, Yong Xiong, Hai tao Hu, Hai rong Xiong, Wei Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has a high tendency among illicit drug abusers. Recently, it is reported that abuse of fentanyl, a potent synthetic μ receptor–stimulating opioid, is an independent risk factor for HIV-1 infection. However, the mechanism of action in augmenting HIV-1 infection still remains elusive. In this study, we found that fentanyl enhanced infection of HIV-1 in MT2 cells, primary macrophages and Jurkat C11 cells. Fentanyl up-regulated CXCR4 and CCR5 receptor expression, which facilitated the entry of virion into host cells. In addition, it down-regulated interferon-β (IFN-β) and interferon-stimulated genes (APOBEC3F, APOBEC3G and MxB) expression in MT2 cells. Our findings identify an essential role of fentanyl in the positive regulation of HIV-1 infection via the upregulation of co-receptors (CXCR4/CCR5) and downregulation of IFN-β and ISGs, and it may have an important role in HIV-1 immunopathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Fentanyl
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Opioids
  • Reactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Fentanyl enhances HIV infection in vitro'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this