Tat-Mediated Induction of miRs-34a & -138 Promotes Astrocytic Activation via Downregulation of SIRT1: Implications for Aging in HAND

Guoku Hu, Ke Liao, Lu Yang, Gurudutt Pendyala, Yeonhee Kook, Howard S. Fox, Shilpa Buch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Astrocyte activation is a hallmark of HIV infection and aging in the CNS. In chronically infected HIV patients, prolonged activation of astrocytes has been linked to accelerated aging including but not limited to neurocognitive impairment and frailty. The current study addresses the role of HIV protein Tat in inducing a set of small noncoding microRNAs (miRNA) that play critical role in astrogliosis. In our efforts to link astrocyte activation as an indicator of aging, we assessed the brains of both wild type and HIV transgenic rats for the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). As expected, in the WT animals we observed age-dependent increase in astrogliosis in the older animals compared to the younger group. Interestingly, compared to the young WT group, young HIV Tg rats exhibited higher levels of GFAP in this trend was also observed in the older HIV Tg rats compared to the older WT group. Based on the role of SIRT1 in aging and the regulation of SIRT1 by miRNAs-34a and −138, we next assessed the expression levels of these miRs in the brains of both the young an old WT and HIV Tg rats. While there were no significant differences in the young WT versus the HIV Tg rats, in the older HIV Tg rats there was a significant upregulation in the expression of miRs-34a & -138 in the brains. Furthermore, increased expression of miRs-34a & -138 in the older Tg rats, correlated with a concomitant decrease in their common anti-aging target protein SIRT1, in the brains of these animals. To delineate the mechanism of action we assessed the role of HIV-Tat (present in the Tg rats) in inducing miRs-34a & -138 in both the primary astrocytes and the astrocytoma cell line A172, thereby leading to posttranscriptional suppression of SIRT1 with a concomitant up regulation of NF-kB driven expression of GFAP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-432
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Aging
  • Astrocyte
  • CNS
  • HIV
  • SIRT1
  • miRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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