HIV-1 gp120 proteins alter tight junction protein expression and brain endothelial cell permeability: Implications for the pathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia

Georgette D. Kanmogne, Charles Primeaux, Paula Grammas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Scopus citations


Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is commonly seen in patients with HIV-associated dementia (HAD) despite the lack of productive infection of the brain endothelium. It is likely that secreted viral products play a major role in BBB damage and the development of HAD. The objective of this study is to determine the effects of gp120 proteins on brain endothelial cell permeability and junctional protein expression. Our results showed that treatment of cultured human brain endothelial cells with gp120 for 24 hours results in increased permeability of the endothelial monolayer. Also, gp120 proteins caused disruption and downregulation of the tight junction proteins ZO-1, ZO-2, and occludin in these cells. Other junctional proteins such as claudin-1 and claudin-5 were unaffected by gp120 treatment. These data demonstrate that HIV gp120 proteins alter both the functional and molecular properties of the BBB, which could increase trafficking of HIV, infected cells, and toxic humoral factors into the central nervous system and contribute to the pathogenesis of HAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-505
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005



  • HIV-gp120
  • Human brain endothelial cells
  • Tight junction proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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