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Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1998 Dec;24(6):453-60.

Expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein in activated microglia of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 encephalitis.

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Department of Pathology (Neuropathology), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.


The role of neurotrophic factors and their therapeutic potential have been investigated in various neurodegenerative disorders. In neurodegeneration associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, neuronal function and survival may be affected by abnormal neurotrophic regulation involving HIV-infected microglia and reactive astrocytes. To characterize the cellular localization of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its high-affinity tyrosine kinase receptor, trkB, proteins in HIV-1 encephalitis, we examined post-mortem brains from patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and brains from non-HIV-infected controls. Using double immunofluorescent confocal microscopy, we found that BDNF immunoreactivity was distributed in neocortical neuronal perikarya and neuritic processes, while in the striatum only neurites were BDNF-immunoreactive. Additionally, the striatum with HIV infection was characterized by BDNF immunoreactivity in infiltrating activated microglia/macrophages and multinucleated giant cells. Catalytic trkB receptor immunoreactivity was observed in neuronal perikarya in the neocortex and striatum, as well as in reactive astrocytes within HIV-infected regions. Our findings suggest that expression of BDNF by activated microglia in HIV-1 encephalitis may affect neuronal survival and astroglial response through corresponding trkB receptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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