New Publication: Mark Burke, PhD

September 03, 2014

The DC D-CFAR would like to congratulate Mark Burke, PhD for his new publication, "Reduction of pyramidal and immature hippocampal neurons in pediatric simian immunodeficiency virus infection" funded in part by a DC D-CFAR pilot award. 

A major obstacle in pediatric HIV research is sample access. Newborn rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) that received intravenous inoculation of highly virulent SIVmac251 (n=3) or vehicle (control n=4) were used in this study. After a 6-18-week survival time, the animals were euthanized and the brains prepared for quantitative histopathological analysis. Systematic sections through the hippocampus were either Nissl stained or immunostained for doublecortin (DCX+), a putative marker of immature neurons. Using design-based stereology, Dr. Burke and colleagues report a 42% reduction in the pyramidal neuron population of the CA1, CA2, and CA3 fields of the hippocampus (P<0.05) in SIV-infected infants. The DCX+ neuronal population was also significantly reduced within the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. The loss of hippocampal neurons and neurogenic capacity may contribute to the rapid neurocognitive decline associated with pediatric HIV infection. These data suggest that pediatric SIV infection, which leads to significant neuronal loss in the hippocampus within 3 months, closely models a subset of pediatric HIV infections with rapid progression.