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Papers: 11 May 2024 - 17 May 2024

2024 Apr 26

Int J Mol Sci




Mitochondrial DNA and Electron Transport Chain Protein Levels Are Altered in Peripheral Nerve Tissues from Donors with HIV Sensory Neuropathy: A Pilot Study.


Boustani A, Kulbe JR, Andalibi MS, Pérez-Santiago J, Mehta SR, Ellis RJ, Fields JA


Distal sensory polyneuropathy (DSP) and distal neuropathic pain (DNP) remain significant challenges for older people with HIV (PWH), necessitating enhanced clinical attention. HIV and certain antiretroviral therapies (ARTs) can compromise mitochondrial function and impact mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication, which is linked to DSP in ART-treated PWH. This study investigated mtDNA, mitochondrial fission and fusion proteins, and mitochondrial electron transport chain protein changes in the dorsal root ganglions (DRGs) and sural nerves (SuNs) of 11 autopsied PWH. In antemortem standardized assessments, six had no or one sign of DSP, while five exhibited two or more DSP signs. Digital droplet polymerase chain reaction was used to measure mtDNA quantity and the common deletions in isolated DNA. We found lower mtDNA copy numbers in DSP+ donors. SuNs exhibited a higher proportion of mtDNA common deletion than DRGs in both groups. Mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) proteins were altered in the DRGs of DSP+ compared to DSP- donors, particularly Complex I. These findings suggest that reduced mtDNA quantity and increased common deletion abundance may contribute to DSP in PWH, indicating diminished mitochondrial activity in the sensory neurons. Accumulated ETC proteins in the DRG imply impaired mitochondrial transport to the sensory neuron’s distal portion. Identifying molecules to safeguard mitochondrial integrity could aid in treating or preventing HIV-associated peripheral neuropathy.