Intraneuronal β-Amyloid Accumulation: Aging HIV-1 Human and HIV-1 Transgenic Rat Brain

Hailong Li, Kristen A. McLaurin, Charles F. Mactutus, Benjamin Likins, Wenfei Huang, Sulie L. Chang, Rosemarie M. Booze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The prevalence of HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) is significantly greater in older, relative to younger, HIV-1 seropositive individuals; the neural pathogenesis of HAND in older HIV-1 seropositive individuals, however, remains elusive. To address this knowledge gap, abnormal protein aggregates (i.e., β-amyloid) were investigated in the brains of aging (>12 months of age) HIV-1 transgenic (Tg) rats. In aging HIV-1 Tg rats, double immuno-histochemistry staining revealed abnormal intraneuronal β-amyloid accumulation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus, relative to F344/N control rats. Notably, in HIV-1 Tg animals, increased β-amyloid accumulation occurred in the absence of any genotypic changes in amyloid precursor protein (APP). Furthermore, no clear amyloid plaque deposition was observed in HIV-1 Tg animals. Critically, β-amyloid was co-localized with neurons in the cortex and hippocampus, supporting a potential mechanism underlying synaptic dysfunction in the HIV-1 Tg rat. Consistent with these neuropathological findings, HIV-1 Tg rats exhibited prominent alterations in the progression of temporal processing relative to control animals; temporal processing relies, at least in part, on the integrity of the PFC and hippocampus. In addition, in post-mortem HIV-1 seropositive individuals with HAND, intraneuronal β-amyloid accumulation was observed in the dorsolateral PFC and hippocampal dentate gyrus. Consistent with observations in the HIV-1 Tg rat, no amyloid plaques were found in these post-mortem HIV-1 seropositive individuals with HAND. Collectively, intraneuronal β-amyloid aggregation observed in the PFC and hippocampus of HIV-1 Tg rats supports a potential factor underlying HIV-1 associated synaptodendritic damage. Further, the HIV-1 Tg rat provides a biological system to model HAND in older HIV-1 seropositive individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1268
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • HIV-1
  • RNAscope
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • prepulse inhibition
  • β-amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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