HIV rapidly infects the central nervous system (CNS) and establishes a persistent viral reservoir within microglia, perivascular macrophages and astrocytes. Inefficient control of CNS viral replication by antiretroviral therapy results in chronic inflammation and progressive cognitive decline in up to 50% of infected individuals with no effective treatment options. Neurotrophin based therapies have excellent potential to stabilize and repair the nervous system. A novel non-peptide ligand, LM11A-31, that targets the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) has been identified as a small bioavailable molecule capable of strong neuroprotection with minimal side effects. To evaluate the neuroprotective effects of LM11A-31 in a natural infection model, we treated cats chronically infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) with 13 mg/kg LM11A-31 twice daily over a period of 10 weeks and assessed effects on cognitive functions, open field behaviors, activity, sensory thresholds, plasma FIV, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) FIV, peripheral blood mononuclear cell provirus, CD4 and CD8 cell counts and general physiology. Between 12 and 18 months post-inoculation, cats began to show signs of neural dysfunction in T maze testing and novel object recognition, which were prevented by LM11A-31 treatment. Anxiety-like behavior was reduced in the open field and no changes were seen in sensory thresholds. Systemic FIV titers were unaffected but treated cats exhibited a log drop in CSF FIV titers. No significant adverse effects were observed under all conditions. The data indicate that LM11A-31 is likely to be a potent adjunctive treatment for the control of neurodegeneration in HIV infected individuals.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s13365-021-00956-2
View details for PubMedID 33661457