Author(s): Bachis A, Cruz MI, Mocchetti I
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Abstract Most early human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) strains are macrophage (M)-tropic HIV variants and use the chemokine receptor CCR5 for infection. Neuronal loss and dementia are less severe among individuals infected with M-tropic strains. However, after several years, the T-cell (T)-tropic HIV strain, which uses the CXCR4 variant, can emerge in conjunction with brain abnormalities, suggesting strain-specific differences in neuropathogenicity. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of such diversity remain under investigation. We have previously demonstrated that HIV envelope protein gp120IIIB, which binds to CXCR4, causes neuronal apoptosis in rodents. Thus, we have used a similar experimental model to examine the neurotoxic effects of M-tropic gp120BaL. gp120BaL was microinjected in the rat striatum and neuronal apoptosis was examined in the striatum, as well as in anatomically connected areas, such as the somatosensory cortex and the substantia nigra. gp120BaL promoted neuronal apoptosis and tissue loss that were confined to the striatum. Apoptosis was associated with microglial activation and increased levels of interleukin-1beta. Intriguingly, gp120BaL increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the striatum. Overall, our data show that gp120BaL demonstrates a different neuropathological profile than gp120IIIB. A better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms mediating HIV neurotoxicity is vital for developing effective neuroprotective therapies against AIDS-associated dementia complex.
This article was published in Eur J Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Neuroinfectious Diseases