EGCG mitigates neurotoxicity mediated by HIV-1 proteins gp120 and Tat in the presence of IFN-gamma: role of JAK/STAT1 signaling and implications for HIV-associated dementia

Brian Giunta, Demian Obregon, Hauyan Hou, Jin Zeng, Nan Sun, Veljko Nikolic, Jared Ehrhart, Douglas Shytle, Francisco Fernandez, Jun Tan
Brain Research 2006 December 6, 1123 (1): 216-225
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection of the central nervous system occurs in the vast majority of HIV-infected patients. HIV-associated dementia (HAD) represents the most severe form of HIV-related neuropsychiatric impairment and is associated with neuropathology involving HIV proteins and activation of proinflammatory cytokine circuits. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) activates the JAK/STAT1 pathway, a key regulator of inflammatory and apoptotic signaling, and is elevated in HIV-1-infected brains progressing to HAD. Recent reports suggest green tea-derived (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) can attenuate neuronal damage mediated by this pathway in conditions such as brain ischemia. In order to investigate the therapeutic potential of EGCG to mitigate the neuronal damage characteristic of HAD, IFN-gamma was evaluated for its ability to enhance well-known neurotoxic properties of HIV-1 proteins gp120 and Tat in primary neurons and mice. Indeed, IFN-gamma enhanced the neurotoxicity of gp120 and Tat via increased JAK/STAT signaling. Additionally, primary neurons pretreated with a JAK1 inhibitor, or those derived from STAT1-deficient mice, were largely resistant to the IFN-gamma-enhanced neurotoxicity of gp120 and Tat. Moreover, EGCG treatment of primary neurons from normal mice reduced IFN-gamma-enhanced neurotoxicity of gp120 and Tat by inhibiting JAK/STAT1 pathway activation. EGCG was also found to mitigate the neurotoxic properties of HIV-1 proteins in the presence of IFN-gamma in vivo. Taken together, these data suggest EGCG attenuates the neurotoxicity of IFN-gamma augmented neuronal damage from HIV-1 proteins gp120 and Tat both in vitro and in vivo. Thus EGCG may represent a novel natural copound for the prevention and treatment of HAD.

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