Author(s): Lawson MA, Kelley KW, Dantzer R
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Abstract Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a major public health concern despite a large education effort during the past 25 years. A persistent problem with HIV infection is the high comorbity rate of clinical depression. We previously established that increasing proinflammatory cytokines within the brain of mice induces sickness that can culminate in depressive-like behavior. Here we investigated the role of the HIV transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein in activation of brain cytokine signaling and subsequent induction of depressive-like behavior in a murine model. Adult Balb/c mice were administered a single intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of Tat (40 ng). Social investigation of a novel juvenile was measured at 2, 4, 8 and 24 h post-treatment. Mice treated with Tat did not display signs of sickness, as measured by either decreased social investigation or loss of body weight. At 24 h post-injection, mice were subjected to the forced swim test (FST). ICV administration of Tat to Balb/c mice increased immobility in the FST at 24 h post injection. A different strain of mice, C57BL/6J, responded similarly in the FST. Furthermore, adult C57BL/6J mice injected with Tat and tested in a two-bottle 1\% sucrose preference test displayed reduced preference for sucrose during the 24 h post-injection period. Subsequently, brain tissues from Tat-treated and control C57BL/6J mice were collected at 4 and 24 h post injection. CNS tissue from Tat-treated mice had increased expression of IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6, and IDO mRNAs at 4 h post injection. These data demonstrate that a single exposure to Tat in the brain is sufficient to induce brain cytokine signaling that culminates in depressive-like behavior. The results reveal a potential role for Tat in the development of comorbid depression in HIV-infected individuals. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Brain Behav Immun
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology