University of Nebraska Medical Center

Jianuo Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor


Jianuo Liu, PhD

Research Interests

Methamphetamine (Meth) abuse and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection are two major public health problems worldwide. Ample evidence indicate that the incidence and severity of HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) increase with concomitant use of Meth. The underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, although Meth abuse and HIV-1 infection each alone can cause brain damage. Aim at elucidating the underlying mechanisms, my current research project studies both individual and synergistic/augment effects of Meth- and HIV glycoprotein 120 (gp120) on rat microglia (and human microglia depending on availability) NLRP3 inflammasome activation, resultant production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, consequent neuronal injury and HAND pathogenesis. Whether Meth potentiates gp120-induced IL-1β production in microglia and/or whether NLRP3 inflamasome is involved in Meth-induced potentiation are examined. Specific antagonists are used to dissect out Meth-associated signaling pathways leading to microglia NLRP3 inflammasome activation.