The spatial relationship between neurons and astrocytes in HIV-associated dementia

Eleanor S. Roberts, Gursharan Chana, Timothy B. Nguyen, Gayathri Perera, Sabine Landau, Sophia Rabe-Hesketh, Jonathan D. Glass, Justin McArthur, Ian Paul Everall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Specific neuronal spatial distributional patterns have previously been correlated with increasing severity of HIV-associated dementia (HAD). As astrocytes are also a putative site of neurotoxicity, we investigated the spatial relationships of astrocytes with pyramidal and interneurons in the superior frontal gyrus from 29 patients who died from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Frontal cortical brain tissue was taken from diseased HIV patients who had been assessed for the presence and severity of HAD using the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Scale. No correlation was found between neuronal density and severity of dementia. However, the pattern of astrocytes became more clustered as dementia progressed. Bivariate spatial pattern analysis of neuronal populations with astrocytes revealed that, with increasing dementia severity, astrocytes and large pyramidal neurons increasingly "repelled" each other, while astrocytes and interneurons evidenced increasing "attraction." This implies that astrocytes may be more likely to be situated in the vicinity of surviving interneurons but less likely to be situated near surviving large pyramidal neurons in the setting of progressing HAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • AIDS
  • Astrocytes
  • HIV
  • Neurons
  • Spatial pattern analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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