The majority of AIDS patients will experience some degree of dementia induced by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1). In this study, we report that treatment of human brain tissue with envelope gp120 of HIV-1 did not cause neuronal death but did cause astrocyte alterations and/or death. Human astrocyte cultures showed decreased expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), as well as the diminution of a major protein of 66 kDa. These findings are similar to the in vitro changes observed when astrocytes are exposed to ammonia and in vivo changes observed in experimental hepatic encephalopathy. We hypothesize that AIDS dementia may partially involve a perturbation of astrocyte function by gp120 that could indirectly impair neuronal function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases