Autophagy is a highly regulated process in which excessive cytoplasmic materials are captured and degraded during deprivation conditions. The unique nature of autophagy that clears invasive microorganisms has made it an important cellular defense mechanism in a variety of clinical situations. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that autophagy is extensively involved in the pathology of HIV-1. To ensure survival of the virus, HIV-1 viral proteins modulate and utilize the autophagy pathway so that biosynthesis of the virus is maximized. At the same time, the abuse of illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, morphine, and alcohol is thought to be a significant risk factor for the acquirement and progression of HIV-1. During drug-induced toxicity, autophagic activity has been proved to be altered in various cell types. Here, we review the current literature on the interaction between autophagy, HIV-1, and drug abuse and discuss the complex role of autophagy during HIV-1 pathogenesis in co-exposure to illicit drugs.
Role of Autophagy in HIV Pathogenesis and Drug Abuse.