Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) associated dementia (HAD) has been attributed to an encephalitis resulting from intense infiltration of monocytes. Evidence suggests that the viral protein Tat, which is released actively from HIV-1 infected cells, can contribute significantly to this process. Therefore, the principal objective of this study was to evaluate the potential molecular basis for the role of extracellular HIV-1 Tat in the induction of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1/CCL2) in the hippocampus, which is primarily linked to cognitive function and most commonly damaged in HAD. We also attempted to identify the mechanism by which resveratrol (trans-3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene) modulates MCP-1 release in hippocampal tissues exposed to Tat. An ex vivo study using rat hippocampal slices demonstrated a time- and dose-dependent increase in MCP-1 production from Tat-treated hippocampal tissues. This increase was accompanied by the activation of the MEK/ERK pathway and TNF-α production. Tat-induced MCP-1 release was abrogated by inhibitors of tyrosine kinases (TK), herbimycin A or genistein, a finding that supports the MAPK signaling mechanism. The inhibition of the ERK1/2 pathway with SL327 induced a near-complete abolition of the observed Tat-induced effects. Furthermore, anti-TNF-α antibodies suppressed Tat-induced MCP-1 release. Resveratrol, to a level similar to that of SL327, downregulated Tat-induced proinflammatory responses via the inactivation of ERK1/2. These results indicate that the activation of the ERK1/2 pathway and TK are critical factors in the production of TNF-α and MCP-1 in the Tat-exposed hippocampus. Additionally, the inhibition of Tat-induced production of MCP-1 and TNF-α via the inactivation of the ERK1/2 pathway may represent the anti-inflammatory mechanism of resveratrol in the hippocampus.
- HIV-1 Tat