Ramakrishna Hegde, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor
Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Post Graduate of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), 1998

Research Interests

Morphine has profound effect on the immune system by its ability to prevent development of cell-mediated immune responses against intracellular pathogens. A growing number acquire   HIV virus via intravenous drug use. Combined HIV-1 infection and opiate dependence is becoming an emerging problem in the post-HAART era as infected individuals continue to live longer. The interplay of these two thus raises concerns regarding their effects on disease severity and rate of progression.

We have utilized the simian immunodeficiency virus(SIV)/AIDS model to better understand the influence of opiate dependency on HIV progression to AIDS. SIV infection in rhesus macaques is one of the best models of HIV-1 infection in humans since the virus has CCR5 phenotype similar to that of HIV. Our findings suggest that morphine has a trend of potentiating virus replication and end-organ pathogenesis, leading to increased mortality in a subset of macaques compared with the virus alone animals. Currently the main focus of our lab research is to address how interactions between morphine & SIV in the acute phase of infection impact disease outcome in the chronic stage neuropathogenesis.

Selective Publications

Arrode G, Hegde R, Jin Y, Liu Z, Narayan O, Chebloune Y. Immunogenicity of a lentiviral-based DNA vaccine driven by the 5'LTR of the naturally attenuated caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV) in mice and macaques. Vaccine. 2012 Apr 30(19):2956-62.

Bokhari SM, Hegde R, Callen S, Yao H, Adany I, Li Q, Li Z, Pinson D, Yeh HW, Cheney PD, Buch S. Morphine potentiates neuropathogenesis of SIV infection in rhesus macaques. J. Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2011 Dec; 6(4):626-39

Arrode-Bruses G, Sheffer D, Hegde R, Dhillon S, Liu Z, Villenger F, Narayan O, Chebloune Y. Characterization of T-cell responses in macaques immunized with a single dose of HIV DNA vaccine. J Virol. 2010 Feb, 84(3):1243-53.

Bokhari SM, Yao H, Bethel-Brown C, Fuwang P, Williams R, Dhillon NK, Hegde R, Kumar A, Buch SJ. Morphine enhances Tat-induced activation in murine microglia. J Neurovirol. 2009, 15(3):219-28.

Arrode G, Hegde R, Jin Y, Singh DK, Narayan O, Chebloune Y. Nef modulates the immunogenicity of Gag encoded in a non-infectious HIV DNA vaccine. Vaccine. 2008 Jul 23;26(31):3795-804.

Arrode G, Hegde R, Mani A, Jin Y, Chebloune Y, Narayan O.  Phenotypic and functional  analysis of immune CD8+ T cell responses induced by   a single injection of a HIV DNA vaccine in mice. J Immunol 2007 Feb 15; 178 (4):2318-27.

Liu Z, Singh DK, Sheffer D, Smith MS, Dhillon S, Chebloune Y, Hegde R, Buch S, Narayan O. Immunoprophylaxis against AIDS in macaques with a lentiviral DNA vaccine. Virology. 2006 Aug 1; 351 (2):444-54.

Kan-Mitchell J, Bajcz M, Schaubert KL, Price DA, Brenchley JM, Asher TE, Douek DC, Ng HL,Yang OO, Rinaldo CR, Benito JM, Bisikirska B, Hegde R, Marincola FM, Boggiano C, Wilson D,Abrams J, Blondelle SE, Wilson DB. Degeneracy and repertoire of the human HIV-1 Gag p1777-85 CTL response. J Immunol. 176:6690-701, 2006.

Hegde R, Liu Z,  Mackay G, Smith M,  CheblouneY,  Narayan O ,Singh DK. Antigen expression kinetics and Immune responses of mice with Noninfectious Simian Human Immunodeficiency virus DNA. J Virol.2005 Dec; 79(23): 14688-97.

Singh DK, Liu Z, Sheffer D, Mackay GA, Smith M, Dhillon S, Hegde R, Jia F, Adany I, Narayan O. A noninfectious simian/human immunodeficiency virus DNA vaccine that protects macaques against AIDS. J Virol. 2005 Mar; 79(6): 3419-28.

Hegde R, Dubey ML, Mahajan RC and Ganguly NK. Cytochrome content and its dependent mono-oxygenases in chloroquine sensitive and resistant isolates of P. falciparum. J Parasitic Diseases 2005 June; 29(1):59-66.

Last modified: ,


Ramakrishna Hegde, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Cheney Lab - 5061A Wahl Hall East
Kansas City, KS 66160

P: 913-588-5574
F: 913-588-7430