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Circulatory Astrocyte and Neuronal EVs as Potential Biomarkers of Neurological Dysfunction in HIV-Infected Subjects and Alcohol/Tobacco Users

1
College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 881 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38163, USA
2
Department of Pediatrics, University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diagnostics 2020, 10(6), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics10060349
Received: 15 April 2020 / Revised: 17 May 2020 / Accepted: 25 May 2020 / Published: 28 May 2020
The diagnosis of neurocognitive disorders associated with HIV infection, alcohol, and tobacco using CSF or neuroimaging are invasive or expensive methods, respectively. Therefore, extracellular vesicles (EVs) can serve as reliable noninvasive markers due to their bidirectional transport of cargo from the brain to the systemic circulation. Hence, our objective was to investigate the expression of astrocytic (GFAP) and neuronal (L1CAM) specific proteins in EVs circulated in the plasma of HIV subjects, with and without a history of alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking. The protein expression of GFAP (p < 0.01) was significantly enhanced in plasma EVs obtained from HIV-positive subjects and alcohol users compared to healthy subjects, suggesting enhanced activation of astrocytes in those subjects. The L1CAM expression was found to be significantly elevated in cigarette smokers (p < 0.05). However, its expression was not found to be significant in HIV subjects and alcohol users. Both GFAP and L1CAM levels were not further elevated in HIV-positive alcohol or tobacco users compared to HIV-positive nonsubstance users. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the astrocytic and neuronal-specific markers (GFAP and L1CAM) can be packaged in EVs and circulate in plasma, which is further elevated in the presence of HIV infection, alcohol, and/or tobacco. Thus, the astroglial marker GFAP and neuronal marker L1CAM may represent potential biomarkers targeting neurological dysfunction upon HIV infection and/or alcohol/tobacco consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: HIV; plasma extracellular vesicles (EVs)/exosomes; alcohol; tobacco; GFAP; L1CAM; neurocognition HIV; plasma extracellular vesicles (EVs)/exosomes; alcohol; tobacco; GFAP; L1CAM; neurocognition
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Kodidela, S.; Gerth, K.; Sinha, N.; Kumar, A.; Kumar, P.; Kumar, S. Circulatory Astrocyte and Neuronal EVs as Potential Biomarkers of Neurological Dysfunction in HIV-Infected Subjects and Alcohol/Tobacco Users. Diagnostics 2020, 10, 349.

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