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Synapse. 2009 Mar;63(3):181-5. doi: 10.1002/syn.20594.

In vivo microdialysis in awake, freely moving rats demonstrates HIV-1 Tat-induced alterations in dopamine transmission.

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  • 1Program in Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may develop neuropsychological impairment, and a modest percentage may progress to HIV-associated dementia (HAD). Research using human and nonhuman, in vitro and in vivo models, demonstrates that subcortical dopamine (DA) systems may be particularly vulnerable to HIV-induced neurodegeneration. The goal of the current investigation is to provide an understanding of the extent to which the HIV-1 protein Tat induces alterations in striatal DA transmission using in vivo brain microdialysis in awake, freely moving rats. The current study was designed to investigate Tat-induced neuronal dysfunction between 24-h and 48-h post-Tat administration, and demonstrates a reduction in evoked DA for the Tat-treated group relative to vehicle-treated group at 24 and 48 h. The Tat-induced reduction of DA overflow by 24 h suggests dysfunction of nerve terminals, and a compromised DA system in Tat-treated animals. Furthermore, the current study provides direct support for HIV-associated decline of DA function at a systemic level, helping to characterize the functional outcome of the relatively large amount of research on the molecular and behavioral levels of HIV-induced neurotoxicity. This initial study may provide additional characteristics of Tat-induced neuronal dysfunction to inform research on therapeutic intervention, and it provides a springboard for future in vivo research currently needed in the field.

(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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