Prevention and treatment of HIV infection and cognitive disease in mice by innate immune responses

Baojun Dong, Alejandra Borjabad, Jennifer Kelschenbach, Wei Chao, David J. Volsky, Mary Jane Potash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


HIV associated neurocognitive impairment afflicts roughly half of infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy. This disease currently has no treatment. We have previously shown that type I interferon is induced by and partially controls infection and neuropathogenesis in mice infected by chimeric HIV, EcoHIV. Here we investigate the intentional ligation of the pattern recognition receptor Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) by polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C) for its ability to prevent or control infection and associated cognitive disease in EcoHIV infected mice. We tested topical, injection, and intranasal application of poly I:C in mice during primary infection through injection or sexual transmission or in established infection. We measured different forms of HIV DNA and RNA in tissues by real-time PCR and the development of HIV-associated cognitive disease by the radial arm water maze behavioral test. Our results indicate that poly I:C blocks primary EcoHIV infection of mice prior to reverse transcription and reduces established EcoHIV infection. Prevention or control of viral replication by poly I:C prevents or reverses HIV associated cognitive disease in mice. These findings indicate that poly I:C or other innate immune agonists may be useful in control of HIV cognitive disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100054
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity - Health
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Cognitive disease
  • HIV
  • Innate immunity
  • Mouse model


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