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Glia. 2015 Mar;63(3):441-51. doi: 10.1002/glia.22763. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

Dynamic interaction between astrocytes and infiltrating PBMCs in context of neuroAIDS.

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Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.


HIV-mediated neuropathogenesis is a multifaceted process involving several players, including resident brain cells (neurons, astrocytes, and microglia) and infiltrating cells [peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)]. We evaluated the dynamic interaction between astrocytes and infiltrating PBMCs as it impacts HIV in the CNS. We demonstrate that human primary-derived astrocytes (PDAs) predominantly secrete Wnt 1, 2b, 3, 5b, and 10b. Wnts are small secreted glycoproteins that initiate either β-catenin-dependent or independent signal transduction. The Wnt pathway plays a vital role in the regulation of CNS activities including neurogenesis, neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, and memory consolidation. We show that HIV infection of PDAs altered astrocyte Wnt profile by elevating Wnts 2b and 10b. Astrocyte conditioned media (ACM) inhibited HIV replication in PBMCs by 50%. Removal of Wnts from ACM abrogated its ability to suppress HIV replication in PBMCs. Inversely, PBMCs supernatant activated PDAs, as demonstrated by a 10-fold increase in HLA-DR and a 5-fold increase in IFNγ expression, and enhanced astrocyte susceptibility to HIV by 2-fold, which was mediated by IFNγ in a Stat-3-dependent manner. Collectively, these data demonstrate a dynamic interaction between astrocytes and PBMCs, whereby astrocyte-secreted Wnts exert an anti-HIV effect on infected PBMCs and PBMCs, in turn, secrete IFNγ that enhance astrocyte susceptibility to productive HIV infection and mediate their activation.


HIV; Wnt signaling; astrocytes; neuroAIDS

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