, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp 389-414

AIDS dementia and HIV-1-induced neurotoxicity: Possible pathogenic associations and mechanisms

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AIDS Dementia Complex (ADC) is a syndrome of cognitive, behavioral, and motor deficits resulting from HIV-1 infection within the brain. ADC is characterized by variable degrees of neuronal cell death and gliosis that likely result, at least, in part from release of metabolic products, cytokines, and viral proteins from infected macrophages, although a unifying explanation for the neurological dysfunction has yet to be established. Major unanswered questions include: (i) do neurologic symptoms result from neuronal cell death and/or dysfunction in surviving neurons?; (ii) are viral genomic sequences determinants of neurotoxicity?; (iii) is HIV infection of neurons and astrocytes relevant to pathogenesis?, and (iv) what circulating factors within the brain affect neuronal cell survival and function? This review addresses the association between HIV-1 replication within the brain, production of potential neurotoxins and possible mechanisms of induction of neurotoxicity and neuronal dysfunction contributing to the pathogenesis of ADC.