SIV-induced immune activation and metabolic alterations in the dorsal root ganglia during acute infection

Lisa M. Mangus, Rachel L. Weinberg, Audrey C. Knight, Suzanne E. Queen, Robert J. Adams, Joseph L. Mankowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human immunodeficiency virus-associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) remains a frequent neurologic complication of HIV infection. Little is known about alterations in the peripheral nervous system during the early stages of HIV, a time when neuroprotective interventions may be most beneficial. We performed Nanostring gene expression analysis on lumbar dorsal root ganglia (DRG) from 6 simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected pigtailed macaques killed at 7 days post-inoculation and 8 uninfected controls. We found significant upregulation of many genes involved in immune signaling and activation in the DRG. Among genes related to glutamate metabolism, there was significant upregulation of glutamine synthetase (GS), while glutaminase (GLS) was downregulated. Several genes involved in the oxidative stress response also showed significant differential regulation in the DRG of 7d SIV-infected animals, with superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD2) showing the greatest median fold change compared to controls. Novel findings in the DRG were compared to corresponding brain data and further investigated at the protein level by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Together with our previous finding of significant epidermal nerve fiber loss at 14 days post-SIV infection, results of this study demonstrate that immune activation and altered cellular metabolism at in the DRG precede and likely contribute to early sensory nerve injury in HIV-SN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Glutamate
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Immune activation
  • Neuropathy
  • Oxidative stress
  • Simian immunodeficiency virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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