The HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorder occurs in approximately one-third of infected individuals. It has persisted in the current era of antiretroviral therapy, and its study is complicated by the lack of biomarkers for this condition. Since the cerebrospinal fluid is the most proximal biofluid to the site of pathology, we studied the cerebrospinal fluid in a nonhuman primate model for HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorder. Here we present a simple and efficient liquid chromatography-coupled mass spectrometry-based proteomics approach that utilizes small amounts of cerebrospinal fluid. First, we demonstrate the validity of the methodology using human cerebrospinal fluid. Next, using the simian immunodeficiency virus-infected monkey model, we show its efficacy in identifying proteins such as alpha-1-antitrypsin, complement C3, hemopexin, IgM heavy chain, and plasminogen, whose increased expression is linked to disease. Finally, we find that the increase in cerebrospinal fluid proteins is linked to increased expression of their genes in the brain parenchyma, revealing that the cerebrospinal fluid alterations identified reflect changes in the brain itself and not merely leakage of the blood-brain or blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers. This study reveals new central nervous system alterations in lentivirus-induced neurological disease, and this technique can be applied to other systems in which limited amounts of biofluids can be obtained.
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