Protective Effects of Ginsenoside Rb1 against Blood-Brain Barrier Damage Induced by Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 Tat Protein and Methamphetamine in Sprague-Dawley Rats.
Am J Chin Med. 2018 ;46(3):551-566. PMID: 29690789
Although antiretroviral therapy has helped to improve the lives of individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1), these patients are often still afflicted with HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders, which can lead to neurocognitive impairment and even dementia, and continue to hamper their quality of life. Methamphetamine abuse in HIV-1 patients poses a potential risk for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, because methamphetamine and HIV-1 proteins such as transactivator of transcription can synergistically damage the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In this study, we aimed to examine the effects of methamphetamine and HIV-1 Tat protein on the blood-brain barrier function and to determine whether ginsenoside Rb1 (GsRb1) plays a role in protecting the BBB. Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups. The experimental groups received methamphetamine and HIV-1 Tat protein or both and the control group received saline or GsRb1 pretreatment. Oxidative stress-related factors, tight junction (TJ) proteins, blood-brain barrier permeability, and morphological changes were recorded in each group. The results showed that the group treated with Methamphetamine[Formula: see text]Tat showed a significant change at the ultrastructural level and in the levels of oxidative stress-related factors, TJ proteins, and BBB permeability, suggesting that the BBB function was severely damaged by HIV-1 Tat and methamphetamine synergistically. However, malondialdehyde levels and BBB permeability were lower and the oxidative stress-related factors superoxide dismutase and glutathione were higher in the GsRb1-treated group than in the Methamphetamine[Formula: see text]Tat-treated group, indicating that GsRb1 can protect the BBB against the toxic effects of HIV-1 Tat and methamphetamine. These results show that GsRb1 may offer a potential therapeutic option for patients with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders or other neurodegenerative diseases.