NYMC Faculty Publications

Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1/Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Induces Opening of Pannexin-1 Channels Resulting in Neuronal Synaptic Compromise: A Novel Therapeutic Opportunity to Prevent NeuroHIV

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Journal of Neurochemistry

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Cell Biology and Anatomy


In healthy conditions, pannexin-1 (Panx-1) channels are in a close state, but in several pathological conditions, including human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV) and NeuroHIV, the channel becomes open. However, the mechanism or contribution of Panx-1 channels to the HIV pathogenesis and NeuroHIV is unknown. To determine the contribution of Panx-1 channels to the pathogenesis of NeuroHIV, we used a well-established model of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in macaques (Macaca mulatta) in the presence of and absence of a Panx-1 blocker to later examine the synaptic/axonal compromise induced for the virus. Using Golgi's staining, we demonstrated that SIV infection compromised synaptic and axonal structures, especially in the white matter. Blocking Panx-1 channels after SIV infection prevented the synaptic and axonal compromise induced by the virus, especially by maintaining the more complex synapses. Our data demonstrated that targeting Panx-1 channels can prevent and maybe revert brain synaptic compromise induced by SIV infection.