Current HIV Research (v.12, #6)

Creatine Protects Against Mitochondrial Dysfunction Associated with HIV-1 Tat-Induced Neuronal Injury by Patrick R. Stevens, Jeremy W. Gawryluk, Liang Hui, Xuesong Chen, Jonathan D. Geiger (378-387).
HIV-1 infected individuals live longer but experience a prevalence rate of over 50% for HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) for which no effective treatment is available. Viral and cellular factors secreted by HIV-1 infected cells lead to neuronal injury and HIV-1 Tat continues to be implicated in the pathogenesis of HAND. Here we tested the hypothesis that creatine protected against HIV-1 Tat-induced neuronal injury by preventing mitochondrial bioenergetic crisis and/or redox catastrophe. Creatine blocked HIV-1 Tat1-72-induced increases in neuron cell death and synaptic area loss. Creatine protected against HIV-1 Tat-induced decreases in ATP. Creatine and creatine plus HIV-1 Tat increased cellular levels of creatine, and creatine plus HIV-1 Tat further decreased ratios of phosphocreatine to creatine observed with creatine or HIV-1
Tat treatments alone. Additionally, creatine protected against HIV-1 Tat-induced mitochondrial hypopolarization and HIV-1 Tat-induced mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening. Thus, creatine may be a useful adjunctive therapy against HAND.

The HIV-1 trans-activator of transcription (Tat) protein, interacts with psychostimulants to potentiate cocaine-reward in rodents. Sex steroids may protect against Tat-induced deficits. Female GT-tg transgenic mice conditionally-expressed Tat protein targeted to brain via a doxycycline-dependent, GFAP-linked promoter. Mice were tested for cocaine-conditioned place preference (CPP) and cocaine-induced locomotion when in the proestrous (high-hormone) or diestrous (low-hormone) phases of their estrous cycle. Cocaine-CPP was potentiated by Tat induction via 50, 100, or 125 (but not 25) mg/kg doxycycline daily treatment for 7 days. Diestrous mice exposed to Tat protein demonstrated significantly greater cocaine-CPP than did proestrous mice. Tat induction interacted with estrous cycle to decrease acute cocaine-induced locomotion among Tat-induced diestrous mice, but not their uninduced or proestrous counterparts, and attenuated cocaine-sensitization. In a cocaine-challenge, previously cocaine-sensitized mice demonstrated greater cocaine-locomotion over cocaine-naive counterparts and Tat-induction attenuated locomotion. Altogether, data demonstrate Tat and circulating sex steroid influences over cocaine-reward and psychostimulation.

HIV-1 Subtypes B and C Tat Differentially Impact Synaptic Plasticity Expression and Implicates HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders§ by Thangavel Samikkannu, Venkata S.R. Atluri, Adriana Y. Arias, Kesava V.K. Rao, Carmen T. Mulet, Rahul D. Jayant, Madhavan P.N. Nair (397-405).
Earlier studies have established that infection with HIV-1 subtypes (clades) might differentially influence the neuropathogenesis of HIV-1-associated neurocognitive dysfunction (HAND). HIV-1 Trans activator of transcription protein (Tat) is of considerable significance and plays a major role in the central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction. However, these HIV-1 clades exert diverse cellular effects that leads to neuropathogenic dysfunction has not been well established. We hypothesized that the HIV-1 clade B and clade C Tat proteins effect synaptic plasticity expression in neuroblastoma cells (SK-N-MC) by diverse methods, and accordingly modulates the development of HAND. In the present study, we have analyzed important and highly expressed 84 key human synaptic plasticity genes expression which differentially impact in clade B and clade C Tat treated SK-N-MC cells using RT2 Profile PCR Array human Synaptic Plasticity kit. Observed results demonstrate that out of 84 key synaptic plasticity genes, 36 and 25 synaptic genes were substantially (≥3 fold) up-regulated and 5 and 5 genes considerably (≥3 fold) down-regulated in clade B and clade C Tat treated cells, respectively, compared to the control SK-N-MC. We have also estimated the levels of glutamine and glutamate in HIV-1 clade B and C Tat exposed SK-N-MC cells compared to untreated cells. Our results indicate that levels of glutamate, glutamine and expression of synaptic plasticity genes were highly dysregulated by HIV-1 clade B Tat compared to clade C Tat in SK-N-MC cells. In summary, this study suggests that clade B Tat substantially potentiates neuronal toxicity and further dysregulated synaptic plasticity genes in SK-N-MC may contribute to the severe neuropathogenesis linked with HAND.

HIV-1 Tat-Induced Changes in Synaptically-Driven Network Activity Adapt During Prolonged Exposure by Kelly A. Krogh, Matthew V. Green, Stanley A. Thayer (406-414).
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) afflict approximately half of HIVinfected patients. The HIV-1 transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein is released by infected cells and contributes to the pathogenesis of HAND, but many of the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we used fura-2-based Ca2+ imaging and whole-cell patch-clamp recording to study the effects of Tat on the spontaneous synaptic activity that occurs in networked rat hippocampal neurons in culture. Tat triggered aberrant network activity that exhibited a decrease in the frequency of spontaneous action potential bursts and Ca2+ spikes with a simultaneous increase in burst duration and Ca2+ spike amplitude. These network changes were apparent after 4 h treatment with Tat and required the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP). Interestingly, Tat-induced changes in network activity adapted during 24 h exposure. The activity returned to control levels in the maintained presence of Tat for 24 h. These observations indicate that Tat causes aberrant network activity, which is dependent on LRP, and adapts following prolonged exposure. Changes in network excitability may contribute to Tat-induced neurotoxicity in vitro and seizure disorders in vivo. Adaptation of neural networks may be a neuroprotective response to the sustained presence of the neurotoxic protein Tat and could underlie the behavioral and electrophysiological changes observed in HAND.

HIV-1 Tat Protein Exposure Potentiates Ethanol Reward and Reinstates Extinguished Ethanol-Conditioned Place Preference by Jay P. McLaughlin, Michelle L. Ganno, Shainnel O. Eans, Elisa Mizrachi, Jason J. Paris (415-423).
Exposure to HIV-1 trans-activator of transcription (Tat) protein potentiates the psychostimulant effects of cocaine, but the functional consequences of the interaction between HIV-1 Tat and other abused drugs is poorly understood. We hypothesized that exposure to HIV-1 Tat would potentiate the rewarding effects of ethanol. GT-tg transgenic mice, where Tat protein is conditionally expressed in brain by a doxycycline-dependent GFAP-linked promoter, were used to test the effects of Tat on ethanol-conditioned place preference (CPP). Compared to uninduced littermates or doxycycline-treated C57BL/6J mice, Tat-induced GT-tg mice demonstrated a 3-fold increase in ethanol-CPP. The potentiation of ethanol-CPP was dependent on the dose and duration of doxycycline treatment used to express Tat protein. Moreover, induction of Tat protein after the extinction of CPP produced reinstatement without additional exposure to ethanol. Together, these data suggest that CNS exposure to HIV-1 Tat protein potentiates the rewarding effects of ethanol in mice.

Opiate Addiction Therapies and HIV-1 Tat: Interactive Effects on Glial [Ca2+]i, Oxyradical and Neuroinflammatory Chemokine Production and Correlative Neurotoxicity by Sylvia Fitting, Shiping Zou, Nazira El-Hage, Masami Suzuki, Jason J. Paris, Christina J. Schier, Jose W. Rodriguez, Myosotys Rodriguez, Pamela E. Knapp, Kurt F. Hauser (424-434).
Few preclinical studies have compared the relative therapeutic efficacy of medications used to treat opiate addiction in relation to neuroAIDS. Here we compare the ability of methadone and buprenorphine, and the prototypic opiate morphine, to potentiate the neurotoxic and proinflammatory ([Ca2+]i, ROS, H2O2, chemokines) effects of HIV-1 Tat in neuronal and/or mixedglial co-cultures. Repeated observations of neurons during 48 h exposure to combinations of Tat, equimolar concentrations (500 nM) of morphine, methadone, or buprenorphine exacerbated neurotoxicity significantly above levels seen with Tat alone. Buprenorphine alone displayed marked neurotoxicity at 500 nM, prompting additional studies of its neurotoxic effects at 5 nM and 50 nM concentrations ± Tat. In combination with Tat, buprenorphine displayed paradoxical, concentrationdependent, neurotoxic and neuroprotective actions. Buprenorphine neurotoxicity coincided with marked elevations in [Ca2+]i, but not increases in glial ROS or chemokine release. Tat by itself elevated the production of CCL5/RANTES, CCL4/MIP-1β, and CCL2/MCP-1. Methadone and buprenorphine alone had no effect, but methadone interacted with Tat to further increase production of CCL5/RANTES. In combination with Tat, all drugs significantly increased glial [Ca2+]i, but ROS was only significantly increased by co-exposure with morphine. Taken together, the increases in glial [Ca2+]i, ROS, and neuroinflammatory chemokines were not especially accurate predictors of neurotoxicity. Despite similarities, opiates displayed differences in their neurotoxic and neuroinflammatory interactions with Tat. Buprenorphine, in particular, was partially neuroprotective at a low concentration, which may result from its unique pharmacological profile at multiple opioid receptors. Overall, the results reveal differences among addiction medications that may impact neuroAIDS.

Erratum (436-436).