Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in HIV: Possible Roles During HAND and Inflammation

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Oct;38(7):1335-1348. doi: 10.1007/s10571-018-0603-8. Epub 2018 Jul 14.


Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a threat to global health. Since its discovery, many efforts have been directed at understanding the mechanisms and consequences of infection. Although there have been substantial advances since the advent of antiretroviral therapy, there are still complications that significantly compromise the health of infected patients, particularly, chronic inflammation and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). In this review, a new perspective is addressed in the field of HIV, where the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) is the protagonist. We comprehensively discuss the available evidence implicating α7-nAChRs in the context of HIV and provide possible explanations about its role in HAND and inflammation in both the central nervous system and the periphery.

Keywords: Gp120; HAND; HIV; Inflammation; Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / drug therapy
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nervous System / pathology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Nicotinic