Abstract: The cognitive deficits in patients with HIV profoundly affect the quality of life of people living with this disease and have often been linked to the neuro-inflammatory condition known as HIV encephalitis (HIVE). With the advent of more effective anti-retroviral therapies, HIVE has shifted from a sub-acute to a chronic condition. The neurodegenerative process in patients with HIVE is characterized by synaptic and dendritic damage to pyramidal neurons, loss of calbindin-immunoreactive interneurons and myelin loss. The mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration in HIVE might involve a variety of pathways, and several lines of investigation have found that interference with signaling factors mediating neuroprotection might play an important role. These signaling pathways include, among others, the GSK3b, CDK5, ERK, Pyk2, p38 and JNK cascades. Of these, GSK3b has been a primary focus of many previous studies showing that in infected patients, HIV proteins and neurotoxins secreted by immune-activated cells in the brain abnormally activate this pathway, which is otherwise regulated by growth factors such as FGF. Interestingly, modulation of the GSK3b signaling pathway by FGF1 or GSK3b inhibitors (lithium, valproic acid) is protective against HIV neurotoxicity, and several pilot clinical trials have demonstrated cognitive improvements in HIV patients treated with GSK3b inhibitors. In addition to the GSK3b pathway, the CDK5 pathway has recently been implicated as a mediator of neurotoxicity in HIV, and HIV proteins might activate this pathway and subsequently disrupt the diverse processes that CDK5 regulates, including synapse formation and plasticity and neurogenesis. Taken together, the GSK3b and CDK5 signaling pathways are important regulators of neurotoxicity in HIV, and modulation of these factors might have therapeutic potential in the treatment of patients suffering from HIVE. In this context, the subsequent sections will focus on reviewing the involvement of the GSK3b and CDK5 pathways in neurodegeneration in HIV.
Keywords: HIV; encephalitis; NeuroAIDS; inflammation; GSK3β; CDK5
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Crews, L.; Patrick, C.; Achim, C.L.; Everall, I.P.; Masliah, E. Molecular Pathology of Neuro-AIDS (CNS-HIV). Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10, 1045-1063.
Crews L, Patrick C, Achim CL, Everall IP, Masliah E. Molecular Pathology of Neuro-AIDS (CNS-HIV). International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2009; 10(3):1045-1063.
Crews, Leslie; Patrick, Christina; Achim, Cristian L.; Everall, Ian P.; Masliah, Eliezer. 2009. "Molecular Pathology of Neuro-AIDS (CNS-HIV)." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 10, no. 3: 1045-1063.