Chapter

Astrocytes

Etty N. Benveniste, Lisa N. Akhtar and Brandi J. Baker

in The Neurology of AIDS

Third edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399349
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965199 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780195399349.003.0008
Astrocytes

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  • Disorders of the Nervous System
  • Infectious Diseases

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Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cell type in the CNS and represent a diverse population of cells. In the past, the direct role of astrocytes in HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) has been controversial, due to the belief that HIV-1 infection of astrocytes was relatively rare. Convincing data now exist that astrocyte infection can be widespread, especially in HIV-associated dementia. When latently infected with HIV-1, astrocytes release toxic mediators that cause apoptosis in uninfected astrocytes and neurons. In fact, a strong association exists between astorocyte apoptosis and rapid progression of dementia. Furthermore, HIV-1 infected astrocytes produce high levels of CCL2 and glutamate, which play an important role in HAND. These and other findings implicate HIV-1 infected astrocytes in HAND pathogenesis. This chapter discusses the normal functioning of astrocytes and, in particular, how this function becomes perturbed during HIV-1 disease.

Chapter.  11017 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Disorders of the Nervous System ; Infectious Diseases

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