Role for Astrocytosis in HIV-1-Associated Dementia

  • L. Vitković
  • A. da Cunha
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 202)


HIV-1-associated dementia occurs in approximately one third of individuals infected with HIV-1, sometimes as the only presenting symptom (McArthur et al. 1994; for refinement of this number see Grant et al., this volume). It involves deficits in cognitive and higher motor functions. The dementia is linked to structural changes in neurons observed post mortem. The changes vary from dendritic dearborization to neuronal drop out (Masliah et al. 1992). Large pyramidal neurons especially vulnerable to as yet unknown pathogenic stimuli are located in the cerebral cortex. The cortex is the brain region known to control cognitive and motor functions. These functions are altered or deficient in AIDS patients. Thus, neuronal dysfunction is a likely direct cause of HIV-1-associated dementia. The precise cause and nature of neuronal dysfunction in AIDS are unknown. HIV-1-associated neuronal damage may be mediated by activation of one family of glutamate receptors (Lipton 1992). Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Glutamate receptor-mediated neuronal death—excitotoxicity—is implicated in the pathogenesis of several disorders affecting mental health such as Alzheimer’s dementia (Choi 1994).


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Glutamine Synthetase Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Vitković
    • 1
  • A. da Cunha
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral ScienceNational Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of HealthRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Cell BiologyNational Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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