Macrophage-induced inflammation affects hippocampal plasticity and neuronal development in a murine model of HIV-1 encephalitis

Larisa Poluektova, Vakara Meyer, Lisa Walters, Ximena Paez, Howard E. Gendelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Cognitive, behavioral, and motor impairments, during progressive human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, are linked to activation of brain mononuclear phagocytes (MP; perivascular macrophages and microglia). Activated MPs effect a giant cell encephalitis and neuroinflammatory responses that are mirrored in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice injected with human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM). Whether activated human MDMs positioned in the basal ganglia affect hippocampal neuronal plasticity, the brain subregion involved in learning and memory, is unknown. Thus, immunohistochemical techniques were used for detection of newborn neurons (polysialylated neuronal cell adhesion molecule [PSA-NCAM]) and cell proliferation (Ki-67) to assay MDM effects on neuronal development in mouse models of HIV-1 encephalitis. Immunodeficient (C.B.-17/SCID and nonobese diabetic/SCID, NOD/SCID) and immune competent (C.B.-17) mice were injected with uninfected or HIV-1-infected MDM. Sham-operated or unmanipulated mice served as controls. Neuronal plasticity was evaluated in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) at days 7 and 28. By day 7, increased numbers of Ki-67+ cells, PSA-NCAM+ cells and dendrites in DG were observed in sham-operated animals. In contrast, significant reductions in neuronal precursors and altered neuronal morphology paralleled increased microglial activation in both HIV-1-infected and uninfected MDM-injected animals. DG cellular composition was restored at day 28. We posit that activated MDM induce inflammation and diminish DG neuronal plasticity. These data provide novel explanations for the cognitive impairments manifested during advanced HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Astrocytes
  • Cell proliferation
  • Hippocampus
  • Ki-67
  • Microglia
  • Neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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