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Increased dopaminergic neurotransmission in therapy-naïve asymptomatic HIV patients is not associated with adaptive changes at the dopaminergic synapses

Abstract

Central dopaminergic (DA) systems are affected during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. So far, it is believed that they degenerate with progression of HIV disease because deterioration of DA systems is evident in advanced stages of infection. In this manuscript we found that (a) DA levels are increased and DA turnover is decreased in CSF of therapy-naïve HIV patients in asymptomatic infection, (b) DA increase does not modulate the availability of DA transporters and D2-receptors, (c) DA correlates inversely with CD4+ numbers in blood. These findings show activation of central DA systems without development of adaptive responses at DA synapses in asymptomatic HIV infection. It is probable that DA deterioration in advanced stages of HIV infection may derive from increased DA availability in early infection, resulting in DA neurotoxicity. Our findings provide a clue to the synergism between DA medication or drugs of abuse and HIV infection to exacerbate and accelerate HIV neuropsychiatric disease, a central issue in the neurobiology of HIV.

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Acknowledgments

The study was supported by grants from the “Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft, Forschung und Technologie”, Germany (BMBF KI 0211 Competence Network HIV/AIDS) and “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” (GRK 1522/1). We are grateful for the excellent technical assistance of Rainer Burger and Ingeborg Euler-König.

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The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to E. Koutsilieri.

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Scheller, C., Arendt, G., Nolting, T. et al. Increased dopaminergic neurotransmission in therapy-naïve asymptomatic HIV patients is not associated with adaptive changes at the dopaminergic synapses. J Neural Transm 117, 699–705 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00702-010-0415-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00702-010-0415-6

Keywords

  • HIV
  • Dopamine
  • CSF
  • Receptors
  • Transporters
  • Infection