HIV-1 clades (subtypes) differentially contribute to the neuropathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia (HAD) in neuroAIDS. HIV-1 envelop protein, gp120, plays a major role in neuronal function. It is not well understood how these HIV-1 clades exert these neuropathogenic differences. The N-methyl-D: -aspartate (NMDA) receptor-reduced glutamine synthesis could lead to secretion of neurotoxins such as arachidonic acid (AA) which plays a significant role in the neuropathogenic mechanisms in neuroAIDS. We hypothesize that clade B and C gp120 proteins exert differential effects on human primary astrocytes by production of the neurotoxin arachidonic acid. Our results indicate that clade B gp120 significantly downregulated NMDA receptor gene and protein expression, and level of glutamine while increasing expression of prostaglandin E2 (PGE(2)) and thromboxane A2 receptor (TBXA(2) R) compared to HIV-1 clade C gp120 protein. Thus, our studies for the first time demonstrate that HIV-1 clade B-gp120 protein appears to induce higher levels of expression of the neuropathogenic molecule cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-mediated arachidonic acid by-products, PGE(2), and TBXA(2) R compared to HIV-1 clade C gp120 protein. These studies suggest that HIV-1 clade B and C gp120 proteins may play a differential role in the neuropathogenesis of HAD in neuroAIDS.