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Biology Articles » Virology » HIV is a 'double hit' to the brain
New evidence reported in the August issue of Cell Stem Cell, a publication of Cell Press, offers a novel perspective on how the HIV/AIDS virus leads to learning and memory deficits, a condition known as HIV-associated dementia. A protein found on the surface of the virus not only kills some mature brain cells, as earlier studies had shown, but it also prevents the birth of new brain cells by crippling "adult neural progenitors," the new study finds. Those progenitor cells are the closest thing to stem cells that have been found in the adult brain.
By elucidating the mechanism responsible for the neurodegeneration and dementia seen in people infected with HIV, the findings made in mice that produce the damaging HIV protein may open the door to new therapies, according to the researchers.
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