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J Comp Neurol. 1999 Sep 6;411(4):563-77.

Neuron loss and axon reorganization in the dentate gyrus of cats infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


The pathophysiological bases of cognitive, motor, and behavioral abnormalities in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) remain largely unknown. To test the possibility that changes in hippocampal neuronal structure may contribute to these neurologic abnormalities, we examined the brains of cats infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), an animal model of HIV-1 infection. We evaluated the dentate gyrus by using Timm's staining to estimate the extent of granule cell axon reorganization and by using Nissl staining, immunocytochemistry, and the optical fractionator method to estimate changes in the number of different neuronal subtypes. FIV-infected cats had abnormally high amounts of Timm's staining in the inner molecular layer and granule cell layer and loss of Nissl-stained, somatostatin-immunoreactive, and parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons in the hilus. An inverse correlation existed between hilar neuron numbers and extent of aberrant Timm's staining. Increased Timm's staining and hilar neuron loss occurred throughout the septotemporal axis of the hippocampus. This type of neuronal loss and synaptic reorganization may provide an anatomic basis for some of the neurologic symptoms found in FIV-infected cats and HIV-infected humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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