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Immune activation, viral gene product expression and neurotoxicity in the HIV-1 transgenic rat.
Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 110 S. Paca Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. email@example.com
Journal of neuroimmunology 2012;247(1-2):16-24.
The HIV-1 transgenic (TG) rat has been shown to be a useful model of nervous system disease that occurs in human HIV-1 infection. Studies were, therefore, performed to examine characteristics of the immune response in the periphery and brain of the animals and expression of factors in the nervous system that might be associated with neurotoxicity. Activated splenocytes from wild-type (WT) and TG rats were stimulated with either CD3/CD28 or with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and examined for proliferative responses and for proinflammatory cytokine (IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-1β) secretion. Brain tissue lysates from the rats were also examined for proinflammatory cytokine levels and tissue sections were stained by immunofluorescence for class II MHC+, ED1+ or Iba1+ (for macrophages and microglial cells), and for GFAP+ (for astrocytes) cells and for co-labeling of these cells for TNF-α. Co-labeling was also performed to identify cells expressing HIV-1 gp160, tat, nef and vif. Finally, on Western blots brain tissue lysates were examined for phosphorylation of Erk1/2, p38, JNK-SAPK and Erk5. TG rat splenocyte proliferative responses were higher than for WT with CD3/CD28-stimulation but lower than WT with LPS stimulation. CD3/CD28-stimulated TG rat splenocytes also secreted higher levels of IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-1β whereas LPS-stimulated TG rat splenocytes secreted higher levels of only TNF-α than cultures from WT rats. Levels of all three cytokines were higher in brain lysates from TG rats than for WT rats. On immunofluorescence staining of corresponding sections of brain, TG rats contained increased numbers of class II MHC+ and ED1+ cells, and there was also increased co-labeling or these cells as well as astrocytes for TNF-α. Iba1+ cells showed positive staining for all of the HIV proteins whereas astrocytes showed significant positive staining for only nef and vif. Phosphorylation of Erk1/2, p38 and JNK/SAPK was detected for both TG and WT rat tissues with higher levels of phosphorylation forms of these proteins detected in the TG rat brain. Phosphorylation of Erk5, a marker that is associated with specifically neuronal repair, was detected only in TG rat brain. These studies suggest that activated nervous system mononuclear phagocytes and astrocytes expressing HIV-1 gene products in specific patterns are associated with neurodegeneration in the HIV-1 TG rat.
1 Originating Grant
30 September 2006 - 29 February 2012
NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE
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