Cell death in HIV dementia
Cell Death and Differentiation
Many patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) suffer cognitive impairment ranging from mild to severe (HIV dementia), which may result from neuronal death in the basal ganglia, cerebral cortex and hippocampus. HIV-1 does not kill neurons by infecting them. Instead, viral proteins released from infected glial cells, macrophages and/ or stem cells may directly kill neurons or may increase their vulnerability to other cell death stimuli. By binding to and/or indirectly
... nd/or indirectly activating cell surface receptors such as CXCR4 and the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, the HIV-1 proteins gp120 and Tat may trigger neuronal apoptosis and excitotoxicity as a result of oxidative stress, perturbed cellular calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial alterations. Membrane lipid metabolism and inflammation may also play important roles in determining whether neurons live or die in HIV-1-infected patients. Drugs and diets that target oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, inflammation and lipid metabolism are in development for the treatment of HIV-1 patients.