Astrocyte activation and apoptosis: their roles in the neuropathology of HIV infection

Brain Pathol. 2003 Jan;13(1):84-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2003.tb00009.x.


Astrogliosis is a common neuropathological finding in the brains of HIV infected individuals; both activation and apoptosis of astrocytes are seen. This review aims to discuss the Fas pathway in the context of proliferation and apoptosis of astrocytes during HIV infection, and as a result of astrogliosis, the dysregulation of astrocyte-neuron networks. The presence of molecules reflecting astrocyte activation, which are derived from the solubilization of receptor/ligand from the surface of proliferating astrocytes, in the cerebrospinal fluid may be used to evaluate the degree of brain cell activation during HAART therapy. A better understanding of the molecular pathway(s) leading to increase activation and apoptosis of astrocytes, in parallel with studies conducted to unravel the molecules involved in T-cell apoptosis during HIV infection, may lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies for controlling HIV replication and tissue damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Apoptosis* / genetics
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Astrocytes / pathology*
  • Astrocytes / virology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / virology
  • Gliosis / metabolism
  • Gliosis / pathology
  • Gliosis / virology
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / genetics
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism
  • fas Receptor / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • fas Receptor