Trace amine associated receptor 1 (TAAR1), a novel astrocyte receptor for METH-mediated neurotoxicity in HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND)




Cisneros, Irma E.


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This dissertation explores the role of astrocyte trace amine associated receptor 1 (TAAR1), a novel G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), in modulating the effects of methamphetamine (METH) on astrocyte-mediated excitotoxicity, thereby exacerbating HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). The rising pandemic of methamphetamine (METH) abuse has multiple effects and interactions with HIV-1 in infected individuals, affecting both the periphery and the central nervous system (CNS). Moreover, there is a high prevalence of HIV-1 infection among METH users. Underlying evidence provides insight into the cellular mechanisms associated with METH and HIV-1 neurodegeneration, including the effects and byproducts of glial cells, specifically astrocytes. While indirect effects of METH and HIV-1 have been proposed in astrocytes the direct mechanisms by which they contribute to neurodegeneration and continue to evolve. Particularly, imbalance in glutamate homeostasis plays a vital role in METH- & HIV-1-mediated neurodegeneration. We propose METH activates a novel GPCR, trace amine associated receptor 1 (TAAR1), thereby regulating astrocyte-mediated glutamate uptake via excitatory amino acid transporter-2 (EAAT-2), exacerbating HIV-1-induced excitotoxicity. Importantly, our data demonstrate astrocyte functions leading to neurotoxic outcomes like excitotoxicity can be directly exacerbated through TAAR1 regulation. Additionally, extrinsic regulation of TAAR1 signaling, including cAMP, calcium, PKA and PKC, not only reduce activation of subsequent signaling factors, but also reduce or eliminate METH- and IL-1β-mediated alterations in astrocytes glutamate clearance abilities. Finally, preliminary studies indicate that astrocyte-TAAR1 may be a novel therapeutic target for the common morbidity of METH abuse in HAND