Although memory deficits have been dearly documented in patients with human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection, the physiological basis of this dysfunction is poorly understood. We focused on Tat, a viral protein released from HIV-1-infected cells and investigated its effect on spatial learning in adult mice. An intracerebroventricular injection of Tat leads to attenuation of spatial learning accompanied by suppression of long-term potentiation (LTP), the cellular basis of spatial learning, in hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 pyramidal neurons. Tat facilitates extrasynaptic but not synaptic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activity. Taken together, these data provide strong evidence that the Tat pathway underlies the development of memory dysfunction in patients with HIV-1 infection and suggest a causal relationship between Tat, the facilitation of extrasynaptic NMDA receptor activity, inhibition of LTP, and attenuation of spatial learning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology