Scientific reports 2017 01 117() 40467 doi 10.1038/srep40467
One of the most challenging issues in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) caused by HIV-1 virotoxins and drug abuse is the lack of understanding the underlying mechanisms that are commonly associated with disorders of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which mainly consists of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMEC). Here, we hypothesized that Glycoprotein 120 (gp120), methamphetamine (METH) and nicotine (NT) can enhance amyloid-beta (Aβ) accumulation in BMEC through Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7 nAChR). Both in vitro (human BMEC) (HBMEC) and in vivo (mice) models of BBB were used to dissect the role of α7 nAChR in up-regulation of Aβ induced by gp120, METH and NT. Aβ release from and transport across HBMEC were significantly increased by these factors. Methyllycaconitine (MLA), an antagonist of α7 nAChR, could efficiently block these pathogenic effects. Furthermore, our animal data showed that these factors could significantly increase the levels of Aβ, Tau and Ubiquitin C-Terminal Hydrolase L1 (UCHL1) in mouse cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and Aβ in the mouse brains. These pathogenicities were significantly reduced by MLA, suggesting that α7 nAChR may play an important role in neuropathology caused by gp120, METH and NT, which are the major pathogenic factors contributing to the pathogenesis of HAND.