Dysregulation of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Signaling Pathways in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Encephalitis

Sheila A. Barber, Jennifer L. Uhrlaub, Jesse B. DeWitt, Patrick M. Tarwater, M. Christine Zink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Central nervous system (CNS) disease is a frequent complication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection. Identification of cellular mechanisms that control virus replication and that mediate development of HIV-associated neuropathology will provide novel strategies for therapeutic intervention. The milieu of the CNS during HIV infection is extraordinarily complex because of infiltration of inflammatory cells and production of chemokines, cytokines, and neurotoxic molecules. Cells in the CNS must integrate signaling pathways activated simultaneously by products of virus replication and infiltrating immune cells. In this study, we examined activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in the CNS of simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques during acute, asymptomatic, and terminal infection. We demonstrate that significantly increased (P < 0.02) activation of ERK MAPK, typically associated with anti-apoptotic and neuroprotective pathways, occurs predominantly in astrocytes and immediately precedes suppression of virus replication and macrophage activation that occur after acute infection. In contrast, significantly increased activation of proapoptotic, neurodegenerative MAPKs JNK (P = 0.03; predominantly in macrophages/microglia), and p38 (P = 0. 03; predominantly in neurons and astrocytes) after acute infection correlates with subsequent resurgent virus replication and development of neurological lesions. This shift from classically neuroprotective to neurodegenerative MAPK pathways suggests that agents that inhibit activation of JNK/p38 may be protective against HIV-associated CNS disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-362
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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