Central nervous system correlates of behavioral deficits following simian immunodeficiency virus infection

Michael R. Weed, Robert D. Hienz, Joseph V. Brady, Robert J. Adams, Joseph L. Mankowski, Janice E. Clements, M. Christine Zink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Despite the high incidence of cognitive and motor impairment in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients, the mechanisms of AIDS-related central nervous system (CNS) pathology are not completely understood. Infection with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in macaques provides an excellent model of AIDS, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-induced CNS pathology and cognitive/behavioral impairment. Co-inoculation with two SIV strains, SIV/17E-Fr and SIV/DeltaB670, accelerates SIV CNS disease, producing SIV encephalitis in over 90% of pig-tailed macaques within 3 months. In the present study, this SIV model was employed to identify cellular and viral correlates of behavioral impairment following SIV infection. Measures of psychomotor speed (simple reaction time), fine motor control (bimanual motor task), and general motor activity (home cage movement) were all adversely affected by SIV disease. Prior to euthanasia, performance was significantly impaired in both a simple reaction time task in 6 of 12 monkeys and a bimanual motor task in 5 of 6 monkeys. All monkeys evaluated (11 of 11) showed significant reductions in spontaneous motor activity. Significant correlations were found between impaired performance on the bimanual motor test and axonal damage (accumulation of β-amyloid precursor protein in the corpus callosum) as well as increased microglial activation and macrophage infiltration (levels of CD68 and Ham56 immunostaining). These results suggest that axonal damage is related to the behavioral impairment induced by infection with SIV. The axonal damage may result from neuroimmune responses, including microglial and macrophage activation. Therefore, axonal damage may be a morphologic manifestation of neuronal dysfunction that underlies development of behavioral impairment in HIV/SIV CNS infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-464
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Motor activity
  • Reaction time
  • β-amyloid protein precursor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Central nervous system correlates of behavioral deficits following simian immunodeficiency virus infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this