Dr. Cris Achim received a 5-year NIH grant to study a key pathway in the process of macrophage clearance of beta amyloid from the brain.
Beta-amyloid, if it accumulates, can clump together in the brain and block cell-to-cell signaling; a process also implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. There is evidence that pathogenic mechanisms leading to HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy may be associated with accumulation of beta amyloid in the brain of aging long term survivors. Certain antiretroviral drugs have also been associated with damage to blood vessels in the brain; a process which may further limit the ability of brain macrophages to clear beta amyloid before it accumulates.
This new study will validate the diagnostic value of amyloid monitoring in clinical specimens in individuals with increased genetic risk for accumulation of beta amyloid and identify potential therapeutic targets implicated in amyloid clearance.