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1.  Modulation of BK Channel by MicroRNA-9 in Neurons After Exposure to HIV and Methamphetamine 
MicroRNAs (miR) regulate phenotype and function of neurons by binding to miR-response elements (MRE) in the 3′ untranslated regions (3′UTR) of various messenger RNAs to inhibit translation. MiR expression can be induced or inhibited by environmental factors like drug exposure and viral infection, leading to changes in cellular physiology. We hypothesized that the effects of methamphetamine (MA) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infection in the brain will induce changes in miR expression, and have downstream regulatory consequences in neurons. We first used a PCR-based array to screen for differential expression of 380 miRs in frontal cortex autopsy tissues of HIV-positive MA abusers and matched controls. These results showed significantly increased expression of the neuron-specific miR-9. In vitro, we used SH-SY5Y cells, an experimental system for dopaminergic studies, to determine miR expression by quantitative PCR after exposure to MA in the presence or absence of conditioned media from HIV-infected macrophages. Again, we found that miR-9 was significantly increased compared to controls. We also examined the inwardly rectifying potassium channel, KCNMA1, which has alternative splice variants that contain an MRE to miR-9. We identified alternate 3′UTRs of KCNMA1 both in vitro and in the autopsy specimens and found differential splice variant expression of KCNMA1, operating via the increased miR-9. Our results suggest that HIV and MA -induced elevated miR-9, leading to suppression of MRE-containing splice variants of KCNMA1, which may affect neurotransmitter release in dopaminergic neurons.
PMCID: PMC3715589  PMID: 23508624
BK-channel; microRNA; microRNA-9; methamphetamine; human immunodeficiency virus; HIV; neuron; brain
2.  Cytokine secretion from brain macrophages infected with human immunodeficiency virus in vitro and treated with raltegravir 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:386.
Integrase inhibitors are a promising class of antiretroviral drugs to treat chronic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. During HIV infection, macrophages can extravasate from the blood to the brain, while producing chemotaxic proteins and cytokines, which have detrimental effects on central nervous system cells. The main goal of this study was to understand the effects of raltegravir (RAL) on human brain macrophage production of immune-mediators when infected with HIV, but did not compare with other antiretroviral agents.
Pro-inflammatory cytokines, IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12-p70, IL-1, IL-8, TNF-α, and IL-6 were measured simultaneously in tissue culture supernatants from primary brain derived macrophages, microglia. We tested the effects of RAL on markers of astrocytosis and neurite integrity in primary human neuroglial cultures.
RAL administered at 20 nM effectively suppressed HIV infection in microglia over 9 days. Only IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α were above the detection limit in the majority of samples and RAL significantly suppressed the rate of cytokine production in HIV-infected microglia. During RAL-alone, the rate of IL-8 secretion was higher.
RAL did not affect neurite area but inhibited astrocyte growth in the neuroglial cultures. Exploring the effects of RAL on pro-inflammatory molecule production in brain macrophages may contribute to designing ARV neuroprotective strategies in chronic HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4227040  PMID: 25015002
Microglia; Human immunodeficiency virus; Integrase inhibitor; Raltegravir; IL-10; IL-8; TNF-α
3.  Short-term recognition memory correlates with regional CNS expression of microRNA-138 in mice 
We hypothesized that microRNA (miR) expression may be involved in memory function because they control local protein translation at synapses and dendritic spines.
Case-control animal study.
We assessed the miR repertoire in the hippocampus of young, 6-month old (n = 18), mice compared to aged, 26-month old (n = 23), mice and compared miR quantity to memory scores as determined by the novel object recognition task (NORT). We performed a histological brain regional analysis of miR-138, APT1 mRNA, and APT1 protein.
We found that higher miR-138 in the mouse hippocampus is correlated with better memory performance. We also found that acyl protein thioesterase 1 (APT1), a depalmytoylation enzyme expressed at dendritic spines whose translation is controlled by miR-138, mRNA is increased in the mouse hippocampal CA1 and dentate gyrus in aged mice compared to young, but not in mice with memory impairment. We found APT1 protein distribution to be lower in cells with high miR-138 expression.
These results suggest that increased miR-138 is associated with better memory and increased APT1 gene transcription occurs with aging. The role of miR-138 and APT1 protein function in memory and aging warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3660985  PMID: 23570889
4.  Cerebral β-amyloid deposition predicts HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in APOE ε4 carriers 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(18):2327-2335.
The apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele enhances cerebral accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) and is a major risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We hypothesized that HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) would be associated with the APOE ε4 genotype and cerebral Aβ deposition.
Clinico-pathological study of HIV-infected adults from four prospective cohorts in the U.S. National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium.
We used multivariable logistic regressions to model outcomes (Aβ plaques [immunohistochemistry] and HAND [standard criteria]) on predictors (APOE ε4 [allelic discrimination assay], older age [≥ 50 years], Aβ plaques, and their two-way interactions) and co-morbid factors.
Isocortical Aβ deposits generally occurred as diffuse plaques and mild to moderate amyloid angiopathy. Isocortical phospho-Tau-immunoreactive neurofibrillary lesions were sparse. The APOE ε4 and older age were independently associated with the presence of Aβ plaques (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 10.16 and 5.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.89–35.76 and 1.91–17.48], P=0.0003 and 0.0019, respectively, n=96). The probability of HAND was increased in the presence of Aβ plaques among APOE ε4 carriers (adjusted OR 30.00 [95% CI 1.41–638.63], P=0.029, n=15), but not in non-ε4 carriers (n=57).
The APOE ε4 and older age increased the likelihood of cerebral Aβ plaque deposition in HIV-infected adults. Generally Aβ plaques in HIV brains were immunohistologically different from those in symptomatic AD brains. Nonetheless, Aβ plaques were associated with HAND among APOE ε4 carriers. The detection of APOE ε4 genotype and cerebral Aβ deposition biomarkers may be useful in identifying living HAND subjects who could benefit from Aβ-targeted therapies.
PMCID: PMC3576852  PMID: 23018443
Apolipoprotein E; β-amyloid; HIV dementia; neurofibrillary pathology; phospho-Tau
5.  Antioxidant Sestrin-2 Redistribution to Neuronal Soma in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders 
Sestrin-2 is involved in p53-dependent antioxidant defenses and in the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis. We hypothesize that sestrin-2 expression is altered in the brains of subjects diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) due to neuronal oxidative stress. We studied sestrin-2 immunoreactivity in 42 isocortex sections from HIV-1-infected subjects compared to 18 age-matched non-HIV controls and 19 advanced Alzheimer's disease (AD) cases. With HIV infection, the sestrin-2 immunoreactivity pattern shifted from neuropil predominance (N) to neuropil and neuronal-soma co-dominance (NS) and neuronalsoma predominance (S; P < 0.0001, Chi-square test for linear trend). Among HIV cases showing the NS or S pattern, HAND cases were preferentially associated with the S pattern (n = 10 of 20) compared to cognitively intact cases (n = 1 of 11; P = 0.047, Fisher's exact test). In AD brains, sestrin-2 immunoreactivity was mostly intense in the neuropil and co-localized with phospho-Tau immunoreactivity in a subset of neurofibrillary lesions. Phospho-Tau-immunoreactive neurofibrillary lesions were rare in HIV cases and their occurrence was not associated with HAND. Levels of isocortical 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (marker of nucleic acid oxidation) immunoreactivity were not significantly altered in HAND cases compared to cognitively intact HIV cases. In conclusion, the sestrin-2 immunoreactivity redistribution to neuronal soma in HAND suggests unique involvement of sestrin-2 in the pathophysiology of HAND, which is different from the role of sestrin-2 in AD pathogenesis. Alternatively, the difference in sestrin-2 immunoreactivity distribution between HAND and AD may be related to different degrees of severity or stages of oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3573843  PMID: 22450766
Alzheimer's disease; HIV dementia; Neurofibrillary pathology; Oxidative stress; SESN2
6.  Tyrosine kinase B protein expression is reduced in the cerebellum of patients with bipolar disorder 
Journal of affective disorders  2011;133(3):646-654.
The role of the cerebellum in coordinating mental activity is supported by its connections with cerebral regions involved in cognitive/affective functioning, with decreased activities on functional neuroimaging observed in the cerebellum of schizophrenia patients performing mental tasks. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-induced activation of tyrosine kinase B (TrkB) is essential to synaptic plasticity. We hypothesized that alterations in BDNF and TrkB expression in the cerebellum were associated with schizophrenia and affective disorders.
We employed immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting to quantify protein expression of BDNF and TrkB in the cerebellum of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression compared to controls (n=15 each).
While TrkB immunoreactivity in each of the molecular and granule-cell layers was reduced in all 3 disease groups (12–34%) compared to the control (P=0.018 and 0.038, respectively, ANOVA), only the reduction in bipolar disorder remained statistically significant upon Tukey-Kramer post hoc analyses (P=0.019 and 0.021, respectively). Apparent decreases in BDNF immunoreactivity in all 3 disease groups (12–30%) compared to the control were not statistically significant. TrkB immunoreactivity was not significantly associated with any of the demographic, clinical, and postmortem variables. Immunoblotting displayed an 85-kDa TrkB-immunoreactive band, consistent with a truncated isoform, in all 60 cases.
On immunoblotting, apparent decreases in 85-kDa-TrkB levels in all 3 disease groups compared to the control were not statistically significant.
Our finding of reduced TrkB expression in bipolar disorder suggests that dysregulation of TrkB-mediated neurotrophin signaling in the cerebellum may play a role in the pathophysiology of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3163025  PMID: 21612826
Bipolar disorder; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Cerebellum; Major depression; Schizophrenia; TrkB
7.  Increased hippocampal accumulation of autophagosomes predicts short-term recognition memory impairment in aged mice 
Age  2011;34(2):305-316.
Constitutive macroautophagy involved in the turnover of defective long-lived proteins and organelles is crucial for neuronal homeostasis. We hypothesized that macroautophagic dysregulation in selective brain regions was associated with memory impairment in aged mice. We used the single-trial object recognition test to measure short-term memory in 18 aged mice compared to 22 young mice and employed immunohistochemistry to assess cellular distribution of proteins involved in the selective degradation of ubiquitinated proteins via macroautophagy. Values of the discrimination ratio (DR, a measure of short-term recognition memory performance) in aged mice were significantly lower than those in young mice (median, 0.54 vs. 0.67; p = 0.005, U test). Almost exclusively in aged mice, there were clusters of puncta immunoreactive for microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), ubiquitin- and LC3-binding protein p62, and ubiquitin in neuronal processes predominantly in the hippocampal formation, olfactory bulb/tubercle, and cerebellar cortex. The hippocampal burden of clustered puncta immunoreactive for LC3 and p62 exhibited inverse linear correlations with DR in aged mice (ρ = −0.48 and −0.55, p = 0.044 and 0.018, respectively, Spearman’s rank correlation). These findings suggest that increased accumulation of autophagosomes within neuronal processes in selective brain regions is characteristic of aging. The dysregulation of macroautophagy can adversely affect the turnover of aggregate-prone proteins and defective organelles, which may contribute to memory impairment in aged mice.
PMCID: PMC3312638  PMID: 21431350
Autophagy; Brain aging; MAP1LC3; Object recognition test; p62; Ubiquitin
8.  Short-term recognition memory impairment is associated with decreased expression of FK506 binding protein 51 in the aged mouse brain 
Age  2010;32(3):309-322.
Evidence suggests that increased glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling may contribute to cognitive decline with age. We hypothesized that alterations in GR signaling pathway molecules, FK506 binding protein (FKBP) 51 and FKBP52, were associated with memory impairment in aged mice. We used the single-trial object recognition test to measure short-term memory in 18 aged mice compared to 22 young mice, and employed quantitative immunohistochemistry to assess cellular expression of those three proteins in the frontal cortex, hippocampal CA1, and dentate gyrus. Values of the discrimination ratio (DR, a measure of novelty preference) in aged mice were significantly lower than those in young mice (mean 0.54 vs. 0.67, p = 0.003, t test). Aged mice with DR below 0.54 were considered impaired (n = 9). In the three neuroanatomic regions studied, the immunoreactivity normalized to the area measured (IRn) for GR was significantly increased in aged mice regardless of their task performance compared to young mice (p < 0.005), as was the FKBP52 IRn (p < 0.007, U test). In the frontal cortex and CA1, the FKBP51 IRn was significantly lower in impaired aged mice than in unimpaired aged mice (p < 0.01 and <0.05, respectively) and in young mice (p < 0.05 and <0.01, respectively, Dunn’s post hoc test). In aged mice, the frontal cortex FKBP51 IRn correlated directly with DR (rs = 0.68, p = 0.002, Spearman rank correlation). These observations suggest that recognition memory impairment in aged mice is associated with decreased FKBP51 expression that may promote GR-mediated glucocorticoid signaling to a greater extent than in unimpaired aged mice.
PMCID: PMC2926850  PMID: 20422297
Aging; Brain immunophilins; FKBP51; FKBP52; Glucocorticoid receptor signaling; Object recognition test

Results 1-8 (8)