Neurotoxicity Research

, Volume 8, Issue 1–2, pp 119–134 | Cite as

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuronal cell death in HIV dementia

Part III Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Neuronal Cell Death


The deaths of neurons, astrocytes and endothelial cells have been described in patients with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) dementia. HIV-1 does not infect neurons; instead, neurotoxic substances shed by infected glia and macrophages can induce a form of programmed cell death called apoptosis in neurons. These neurotoxins include the HIV-1 proteins Tat and gp120, as well as proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, excitotoxins and proteases. In this article we review the evidence for apoptosis of various cell types within the brain of HIV-infected patients, and describein vitro andin vivo experimental studies that have elucidated the mechanisms by which HIV causes apoptosis of brain cells.


HIV Dementia Astrocytes Endothelial cells apoptosis Tat gp120 cytokines chemokines excitotoxins proteases 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Li
    • 1
  • D. Galey
    • 1
  • Mark P. Mattson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Avindra Nath
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.RT Johnson Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infection, Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of NeurosciencesNational Institute on Aging Intramural Research ProgramBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeuroscienceJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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