Direct cytotoxicity of HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 on human NT neurons

Ping Wu, Patricia Price, Bin Du, William C. Hatch, Ernest F. Terwilliger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


A new in vitro system comprising a pure population of neurons, human NT cells, was used to characterize the direct neurotoxic effect of HIV-1 envelope protein gp120. Cytotoxicity was monitored by a quantitative assay after exposure to recombinant gp120 in the presence or absence of other reagents. Treatment of mature NT neurons with various doses of gp120 for 24 h caused a decrease of up to 27% in the number of viable cells. This neurotoxicity was abolished by co-treatment with either D-2-amino-5- phosphonopentanoic acid (APV), MK801 or nimodipine, or by culturing cells in a Ca2+-free environment. Taken together, these data indicate that gp120 exerts a direct neurotoxic effect by acting through NMDA receptors and Ca2+ channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1049
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Gp120 protein
  • HIV
  • Human NT neuron
  • NMDA receptor
  • Neurotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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