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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2004 Oct;63(10):1038-47.

Altered P-glycoprotein expression in AIDS patients with HIV encephalitis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0624, USA.


Penetrance of anti-retroviral drugs into the CNS depends partly on the activity of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), an ATP-dependent efflux pump involved in restricting entry of lipophilic drugs into the brain. The present study characterizes the patterns of P-gp expression in the brains of AIDS patients and examines its relationship with clinical and neuropathological indicators of HIV encephalitis (HIVE). For this purpose, brain tissue collected at autopsy from 26 subjects with a history of HIV (9 without HIVE; 17 with HIVE) was analyzed. Immunocytochemical staining and Western blot analyses for regional P-gp expression were performed and levels were correlated with neuropathological indicators and with HIV RNA. Double labeling experiments were performed with antibodies against astroglial (GFAP), endothelial (CD31), microglial (CD45) and neuronal (MAP2) cell markers. In the HIVE-negative cases, P-gp immunoreactivity was associated primarily with endothelial cells. HIVE-positive cases showed extensive immunolabeling of astroglial and microglial cells, but relatively less endothelial cell immunolabeling. No neuronal P-gp immunostaining was detected in brain tissue from any cases in the study. In the HIVE-positive cases with extensive astroglial labeling, the most intense immunoreactivity was detected in white matter. A subset of HIVE-positive cases displayed intense P-gp immunostaining of astrocytes closely associated with blood vessels in the cortex. Both the immunocytochemical and Western blot analyses showed a significant correlation between P-gp expression and HIV RNA levels. In conclusion, P-gp immunoreactivity was detected largely in glial cells in tissue from HIVE-positive patients. Furthermore, in HIVE-positive patients, brain viral burden and P-gp levels were significantly higher than those in HIVE-negative patients. Taken together, our data suggest that P-gp may be part of a central pathway mediating viral compartmentalization in the brains of HIV-infected individuals and may play a significant part in HIV disease progression in the brain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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