Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

HIV protein may impact neurocognitive impairment in infected patients

Date:
November 15, 2013
Source:
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
Summary:
A protein shed by HIV-infected brain cells alters synaptic connections between networks of nerve cells, according to new research. The findings could explain why nearly half of all patients infected with the AIDS virus experience some level of neurocognitive impairment.

A protein shed by HIV-infected brain cells alters synaptic connections between networks of nerve cells, according to new research out of the University of Minnesota. The findings could explain why nearly half of all patients infected with the AIDS virus experience some level of neurocognitive impairment.

Related Articles


The research was published in the current volume of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"The synaptic changes didn't appear to be a symptom of nerve death," said Nicholas Hargus, Ph.D., lead author on the paper and a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology in the University of Minnesota Medical School. "Instead, the changes appeared to be a protective response resulting from the over-excitation of the network by the HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat). Essentially, the neuroprotective mechanism has gone awry."

HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are an indirect result of HIV, as the disease itself does not infect neurons. Tat has been shown to contribute heavily to the development of HAND in patients. Hargus and Stanley Thayer, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology, wanted to learn more about the relationship between Tat and HAND to better understand how to treat the disorders.

Researchers replicated the impact of the Tat in a rat model and tracked the changes to the synaptic proteins. They found changes in both inhibitory and excitatory synapses were initiated by specific Tat binding activity. This discovery indicated a pharmacological change due to exposure to Tat.

"We found drugs altering synaptic transmission between nerve cells reversed the synaptic changes induced by Tat," said Thayer. "In the future, this could provide a target for the development of drugs to act upon and improve cognitive function in patients."

Ongoing experiments are investigating the relationship between drug-induced changes in synaptic connections and the changes in cognitive function. In the future, high throughput approaches to assess synaptic function will be developed for evaluating drug candidates.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. J. Hargus, S. A. Thayer. Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Tat Protein Increases the Number of Inhibitory Synapses between Hippocampal Neurons in Culture. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (45): 17908 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1312-13.2013

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "HIV protein may impact neurocognitive impairment in infected patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131115130210.htm>.
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. (2013, November 15). HIV protein may impact neurocognitive impairment in infected patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131115130210.htm
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "HIV protein may impact neurocognitive impairment in infected patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131115130210.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins