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Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Sep;105:51-73. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2017.04.015. Epub 2017 Apr 27.

HIV, Tat and dopamine transmission.

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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19102, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, United States.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, United States.
Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, United States. Electronic address:


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a progressive infection that targets the immune system, affecting more than 37 million people around the world. While combinatorial antiretroviral therapy (cART) has lowered mortality rates and improved quality of life in infected individuals, the prevalence of HIV associated neurocognitive disorders is increasing and HIV associated cognitive decline remains prevalent. Recent research has suggested that HIV accessory proteins may be involved in this decline, and several studies have indicated that the HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat) can disrupt normal neuronal and glial function. Specifically, data indicate that Tat may directly impact dopaminergic neurotransmission, by modulating the function of the dopamine transporter and specifically damaging dopamine-rich regions of the CNS. HIV infection of the CNS has long been associated with dopaminergic dysfunction, but the mechanisms remain undefined. The specific effect(s) of Tat on dopaminergic neurotransmission may be, at least partially, a mechanism by which HIV infection directly or indirectly induces dopaminergic dysfunction. Therefore, precisely defining the specific effects of Tat on the dopaminergic system will help to elucidate the mechanisms by which HIV infection of the CNS induces neuropsychiatric, neurocognitive and neurological disorders that involve dopaminergic neurotransmission. Further, this will provide a discussion of the experiments needed to further these investigations, and may help to identify or develop new therapeutic approaches for the prevention or treatment of these disorders in HIV-infected individuals.


Dopamine; HIV; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders; Tat; neurological disease; neurotransmission

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