Methamphetamine augments HIV-1 gp120 inhibition of synaptic transmission and plasticity in rat hippocampal slices: Implications for methamphetamine exacerbation of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders

Ya Zheng, Benjamin Reiner, Jianuo Liu, Linda Xu, Huangui Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Methamphetamine (Meth) abuse and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection are two major public health problems worldwide. Being frequently comorbid with HIV-1 infection, Meth abuse exacerbates neurocognitive impairment in HIV-1-infected individuals even in the era of combined antiretroviral therapy. While a large body of research have studied the individual effects of Meth and HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein 120 (gp120) in the brain, far less has focused on their synergistic influence. Moreover, it is well-documented that the hippocampus is the primary site of spatial learning and long-term memory formation. Dysregulation of activity-dependent synaptic transmission and plasticity in the hippocampus is believed to impair neurocognitive function. To uncover the underlying mechanisms for increased incidence and severity of HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in HIV-1-infected patients with Meth abuse, we investigated acute individual and combined effects of Meth (20 μM) and gp120 (200 pM) on synaptic transmission and plasticity in the CA1 region of young adult male rat hippocampus, a brain region known to be vulnerable to HIV-1 infection. Our results showed that acute localized application of Meth and gp120 each alone onto the CA1 region reduced short-term dynamics of input-output responses and frequency facilitation, and attenuated long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by either high frequency stimulation or theta burst stimulation. A synergistic augmentation on activity-dependent synaptic plasticity was observed when Meth and gp120 were applied in combination. Paired-pulse facilitation results exhibited an altered facilitation ratio, suggesting a presynaptic site of action. Further studies revealed an involvement of microglia NLRP3 inflammasome activation in Meth augmentation of gp120-mediated attenuation of LTP. Taken together, our results demonstrated Meth augmented gp120 attenuation of LTP in the hippocampus. Since LTP is the accepted experimental analog of learning at the synaptic level, such augmentation may underlie Meth exacerbation of HAND observed clinically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105712
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Volume168
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2022

Keywords

  • HIV-1gp120
  • Hippocampal slices
  • Inflammasome
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Methamphetamine
  • Microglia
  • Synaptic transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology

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