Crosstalk between components of the blood brain barrier and cells of the CNS in microglial activation in AIDS

TitleCrosstalk between components of the blood brain barrier and cells of the CNS in microglial activation in AIDS
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsLangford, D, Masliah, E
JournalBrain Pathology (Zurich, Switzerland)
Date Published07/2001
KeywordsChemotaxis, Cytokines, Endothelium, Feedback, Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Internal, Leukocyte, Macrophage Activation, Signal Transduction, tat, tat Gene Products, Vascular

During the progression of AIDS, a majority of patients develop cognitive disorders such as HIV encephalitis (HIVE) and AIDS dementia complex (ADC), which correlate closely with macrophage infiltration into the brain and microglial activation. Microglial activation occurs in response to infection, inflammation and neurological disorders including HIVE, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. Microglia can be activated by immunoreactive cells independent of, but enhanced by HIV infection, from at least two routes. Activation may occur from signals originating from activated monocytes and lymphocytes in the blood stream, which initiate a cascade of stimuli that ultimately reach microglia in the brain or from activated macrophages/microglia/astrocytes within the brain. Effects of microglial activation stemming from both systemic and CNS HIV infection act together to commence signaling feedback, leading to HIVE and increased neurodegeneration. Most recent data indicate that in AIDS patients, microglial activation in the brain with subsequent release of excitotoxins, cytokines and chemokines leads to neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment. Since the presence of HIV in the brain results from migration of infected monocytes and lymphocytes across the vascular boundary, the development of novel therapies aimed at protecting the integrity of the blood brain barrier (BBB) upon systemic HIV infection is critical for controlling CNS infection.