Copolymer-1 (COP-1) elicits neuroprotective activities in a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders. This occurs, in part, by adaptive immune-mediated suppression of microglial inflammatory responses. Because HIV infection and immune activation of perivascular macrophages and microglia drive a metabolic encephalopathy, we reasoned that COP-1 could be developed as an adjunctive therapy for disease. To test this, we developed a novel animal model system that reflects HIV-1 encephalitis in rodents with both innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Bone marrow-derived macrophages were infected with HIV-1/vesicular stomatitis-pseudotyped virus and stereotactically injected into the basal ganglia of syngeneic mice. HIV-1 pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus envelope-infected bone marrow-derived macrophages induced significant neuroinflammation, including astrogliosis and microglial activation with subsequent neuronal damage. Importantly, COP-1 immunization reduced astro- and microgliosis while diminishing neurodegeneration. Hippocampal neurogenesis was, in part, restored. This paralleled reductions in proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α and IL-1β, and inducible NO synthase, and increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Ingress of Foxp3- and IL-4-expressing lymphocytes into brains of COP-1-immunized animals was observed. We conclude that COP-1 may warrant therapeutic consideration for HIV-1-associated cognitive impairments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy