The dysfunction and death of neuronal cells is thought to underlie the cognitive manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated neurological disorders. Although HIV-infected patients are living longer owing to the effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapies, the number of patients developing neurological disorders is on the rise. Thus, there is an escalating need for effective therapies to preserve cognitive function in HIV-infected patients. Using HIV-protein-induced neurotoxicity as a model system, we tested the effectiveness of a non-immunosuppressive immunophilin ligand to attenuate gp120 and Tat-induced modification of neuronal function. The immunophilin ligand GPI1046 attenuated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium release induced by gp120 and Tat and protected neurons from the lethal effect of these neurotoxic HIV proteins. Both inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate (IP3) and ryanodine-sensitive ER calcium release was attenuated by pre-incubation with GPI1046. Using the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium pump inhibitor thapsigargin to release ER calcium, we determined that GPI1046 reduced the total ER calcium load. These findings suggest that non-immunosuppressive immunophilin ligands may be useful neuroprotective drugs in HIV dementia.
- Inositol 1,4,5 trisphosphate
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience