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Brain Behav Immun. 2003 Apr;17(2):94-109.

Sympathetic nerve destruction in spleen in murine AIDS.

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Center for Psychoneuroimmunology Research, University of Rochester Medical Center, 300 Crittenden Boulevard, 14642, Rochester, NY, USA.


In susceptible strains of mice, the LP-BM5 mixture of murine retroviruses induces the fatal immunodeficiency disease known as murine acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (murine AIDS or MAIDS). We have previously reported that murine AIDS produces a profound depletion of splenic norepinephrine (NE). Here, we demonstrate that NE depletion is limited to the spleen, a major site affected by LP-BM5 infection. NE depletion in the spleen is first observed at two weeks following LP-BM5 inoculation, concurrent with the onset of splenomegaly, and continues through 12 weeks post-infection. Neuroanatomical studies revealed that the reduction in NE is due to destruction of splenic sympathetic nerve fibers. Administration of the NE reuptake blocker desipramine did not prevent LP-BM5-induced NE depletion, suggesting that destruction is not caused by excess release and reuptake of NE. Elucidating the mechanism of MAIDS-induced sympathetic nerve destruction may provide insight into autonomic and peripheral neuropathies reported in people with AIDS.

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