Microglia-derived HIV Nef+ exosome impairment of the blood–brain barrier is treatable by nanomedicine-based delivery of Nef peptides
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The negative factor (Nef) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an accessory protein that is thought to be integral to HIV-associated immune- and neuroimmune pathogenesis. Here, we show that nef-transfected microglia-released Nef+ exosome (exNef) disrupts the apical blood–brain barrier (BBB) and that only nef-transfected microglia release Nef in exosomes. nef–gfp-transduced neurons and astrocytes release exosomes but did not release exNef in the extracellular space. Apical administration of exNef derived from nef-transfected 293T cells reduced transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) and increased permeability of the BBB. Microglia-derived exNef applied to either the apical/basal BBB significantly reduced expression of the tight junction protein, ZO-1, suggesting a mechanism of exNef-mediated neuropathogenesis. Microglia exposed to exNef release elevated levels of Toll-like receptor-induced cytokines and chemokines IL-12, IL-8, IL-6, RANTES, and IL-17A. Magnetic nanoparticle delivery of Nef peptides containing the Nef myrisolation site across an in vitro BBB ultimately reduced nef-transfected microglia release of Nef exosomes and prevented the loss of BBB integrity and permeability as measured by TEER and dextran-FITC transport studies, respectively. Overall, we show that exNef is released from nef–gfp-transfected microglia; exNef disrupts integrity and permeability, and tight junctions of the BBB, and induces microglial cytokine/chemokine secretion. These exNef-mediated effects were significantly restricted by Nef peptides. Taken together, this study provides preliminary evidence of the role of exNef in HIV neuroimmune pathogenesis and the feasibility of a nanomedicine-based therapeutics targeting exNef to treat HIV-associated neuropathogenesis.
KeywordsNef + exosomes BBB impairment Nanoparticle therapeutics
This work was supported by grant awards 3R01DA027049-04S1 and 3R01DA02704 from the National Institute of Health.
Authors would like to thank Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute (AMERI) at the College of Engineering and Computing of Florida International University for their support.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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