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Due to the widespread access to, and implementation of, combination antiretroviral therapy, individuals perinatally infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are living into adolescence and adulthood. Perinatally infected adolescents living with HIV-1 (pALHIV) are plagued by progressive, chronic neurocognitive impairments; the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these deficits, however, remain understudied. A longitudinal experimental design from postnatal day (PD) 30 to PD 180 was utilized to establish the development of pyramidal neurons, and associated dendritic spines, from layers II-III of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in HIV-1 transgenic (Tg) and control animals. Three putative neuroinflammatory markers (i.e., IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) were evaluated early in development (i.e., PD 30) as a potential mechanism underlying synaptic dysfunction in the mPFC. Constitutive expression of HIV-1 viral proteins induced prominent neurodevelopmental alterations and progressive synaptodendritic dysfunction, independent of biological sex, in pyramidal neurons from layers II-III of the mPFC. From a neurodevelopmental perspective, HIV-1 Tg rats exhibited prominent deficits in dendritic and synaptic pruning. With regards to progressive synaptodendritic dysfunction, HIV-1 Tg animals exhibited an age-related population shift towards dendritic spines with decreased volume, increased backbone length, and decreased head diameter; parameters associated with a more immature dendritic spine phenotype. There was no compelling evidence for neuroinflammation in the mPFC during early development. Collectively, progressive neuronal and dendritic spine dysmorphology herald synaptodendritic dysfunction as a key neural mechanism underlying chronic neurocognitive impairments in pALHIV.

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).

APA Citation

McLaurin, K., Li, H., Booze, R., & Mactutus, C. (2021). Neurodevelopmental Processes in the Prefrontal Cortex Derailed by Chronic HIV-1 Viral Protein Exposure. Cells, 10(11), 3037.

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