Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

AIDS interferes with stem cells in the brain

17.08.2007
Discovery links mechanism for HIV/AIDS dementia, possibly other neurological disorders, with known cancer 'checkpoint' pathway

A prominent problem in AIDS is a form of dementia that robs one’s ability to concentrate and perform normal movements. Scientists at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) have discovered how HIV/AIDS disrupts the normal replication of stem cells in the adult brain, preventing new nerve cells from forming. Drs. Stuart Lipton, Marcus Kaul, Shu-ichi Okamoto and their colleagues uncovered a novel molecular mechanism that inhibits stem cell proliferation and that could possibly be triggered in other neurodegenerative diseases as well. These findings were made available to medical researchers today through priority publication online by the journal Cell Stem Cell.

A normally functioning adult human brain has the ability to partially replenish or repair itself through neurogenesis, the proliferation and development of adult neural progenitor/stem cells (aNPCs) into new nerve cells. Neurogenesis can take place only within specific regions of the brain, such as the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is the brain’s central processing unit, critical to learning and memory. aNPCs differentiate, adapt, and assimilate into existing neural circuits and mature with guidance from neurotransmitters, the chemical substances that nerve cells use to communicate with one another. The brain’s self-renewal through neurogenesis is impaired in AIDS dementia, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases, as evidenced by a greatly reduced number of aNPCs in brain tissue from individuals suffering from these diseases. The Burnham team focused on the determining the effect of a protein associated with AIDS, called HIV/gp120, which plays a key role in the pathogenesis of AIDS dementia.

In initial work with cell cultures in Petri dishes, the researchers methodically ruled out the possibility that HIV/gp120 would be inducing the death of stem cells and determined instead that HIV/gp120 was acting by inhibiting stem cell proliferation. Next, they confirmed these results in a special mouse strain bred to express HIV/gp120 in its brain. This mouse model for AIDS dementia mimics several features of the disease process found in humans. They observed a significant decrease in the number of proliferating stem cells in the brains of HIV/gp120-mice compared with similar tissue from normal, wild-type mice.

HIV/gp120 is known to interact with two receptors, called chemokine receptors, which are expressed on aNPCs. The researchers discovered that the same two receptors were targeted by HIV/gp120 sourced from either mouse or human brain tissue.

In search of a mechanism behind the finding that HIV/gp120 reduced proliferation of aNPCs, the scientists studied the effect of the protein on the cell cycle. Cells undergo seasons or cycles, known as G1, S, G2, and M (for mitosis, or cell division). They found that cells exposed to HIV/gp120 got stuck in the G1 or resting phase, and that the cell cycle was arrested.

Cell cycle is studied intensively by cancer researchers who have delineated certain “checkpoint” pathways that can jam cell proliferation, one of the key behaviors of cancer. Checkpoint pathways are overcome by cancers when they fool the body’s normal machinery into producing more cancerous cells. With dementia, it turns out that the opposite is true: the Burnham team discovered that HIV/AIDS could co-opt the checkpoint pathway to prevent stem cells in the brain from dividing and multiplying.

One such checkpoint pathway is modulated by an enzyme called p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), whose activity is known to disrupt the cell cycle. In mature nerve cells, the Burnham team had previously shown that HIV/gp120 activates the p38 MAPK pathway to contribute to cell death. Lipton and colleagues now report that the p38 MAPK pathway is also the mechanism underlying decreased stem cell proliferation in the brain associated with HIV/AIDS. Under experimental conditions, they were able to neutralize the p38 MAPK pathway and restore stem cell proliferation.

“We show for the first time how HIV/AIDS inhibits proliferation of neural stem cells and prevents the formation of new nerve cells in the adult brain,” said Dr. Stuart Lipton, Director of Burnham’s Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research.

“The fact that the mechanism of action involves the p38 MAPK enzyme is fortuitous because drugs to combat that pathway are being tested for other diseases. If they prove effective, they might also work to protect the brain. Thus, this study offers real hope for combating the bad effects of HIV/AIDS on stem cells in the brain.” Lipton went on to state, “It will be important to see if HIV/AIDS acts similarly on stem cells for other organs in the human body, as this may impact on the disease process as a whole.”

Nancy Beddingfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.burnham.org

Further reports about: Aids HIV/AIDS HIV/gp120 Lipton MAPK Stem aNPCs dementia nerve cells neurodegenerative disease p38 p38 MAPK pathway proliferation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>