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GP120 and tenofovir alafenamide alter cannabinoid receptor 1 expression in hippocampus of mice

  • Kulbe, Jacqueline Renee
  • Le, Alexandra Anh
  • Mante, Michael
  • Florio, Jazmin
  • Laird, Anna Elizabeth
  • Swinton, Mary K
  • Rissman, Robert A
  • Fields, Jerel Adam
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2023
eScholarship - University of California
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Central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction remains prevalent in people with HIV (PWH) despite effective antiretroviral therapy (ART). There is evidence that low-level HIV infection and ART drugs may contribute to CNS damage in the brain of PWH with suppressed viral loads. As cannabis is used at a higher rate in PWH compared to the general population, there is interest in understanding how HIV proteins and ART drugs interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and inflammation in the CNS. Therefore, we investigated the effects of the HIV envelope protein gp120 and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) on cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and IBA1 in the brain and on locomotor activity in mice. The gp120 transgenic (tg) mouse model was administered TAF daily for 30 days and then analyzed using the open field test before being euthanized, and their brains were analyzed for CB1R, GFAP, and IBA1 expression using immunohistochemical approaches. CB1R expression levels were significantly increased in CA1, CA2/3, and dentate gyrus of gp120tg mice compared to wt littermates; TAF reversed these effects. As expected, TAF showed a medium effect of enhancing GFAP in the frontal cortex of gp120tg mice in the frontal cortex. TAF had minimal effect on IBA1 signal. TAF showed medium to large effects on fine movements, rearing, total activity, total distance, and lateral activity in the open-field test. These findings suggest that TAF may reverse gp120-induced effects on CB1R expression and, unlike tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), may not affect gliosis in the brain.

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