Increased vulnerability of ApoE4 neurons to HIV proteins and opiates: protection by diosgenin and L-deprenyl

Neurobiology of Disease
Jadwiga Turchan-CholewoA Nath


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection continues to rise in drug-abusing populations and causes a dementing illness in a subset of individuals. Factors contributing to the development of dementia in this population remain unknown. We found that HIV-infected individuals with the E4 allele of Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) or history of intravenous drug abuse had increased oxidative stress in the CNS. In vitro studies showed that HIV proteins, gp120 and Tat, Tat + morphine but not tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), caused increased neurotoxicity in human neuronal cultures with ApoE4 allele. Microarray analysis showed a differential alteration of transcripts involved in energy metabolism in cultures of ApoE3 and 4 neurons upon treatment with Tat + morphine. This was confirmed using assays of mitochondrial function and exposure of the neurons to Tat + morphine. Using this in vitro model, we screened a number of novel antioxidants and found that only L-deprenyl and diosgenin protected against the neurotoxicity of Tat + morphine. Furthermore, Tat-induced oxidative stress impaired morphine metabolism which could also be prevented by diosgenin. In conclusion, opiate abusers with HIV infection and the ApoE4 allele may be at increas...Continue Reading


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