Laser cytometric analysis of FIV-induced injury in astroglia.
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Glia are the predominant brain cells infected by the lentiviruses human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). The importance of astrocytes in maintenance of central nervous system homeostasis suggests that astrocytes are likely to play a strategic role in the progression of neurological disease in lentiviral-infected patients. In consideration of this postulate, the ability of FIV to cause injury by infection of cultured feline astroglia was examined via vital fluorescence assays. Intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, plasma membrane permeability and fluidity, and cytosolic glutathione (GSH) levels were evaluated. Although basal intracellular Ca2+ was not significantly different between groups, FIV-infected astroglia displayed both a significant delay in development of peak Ca2+ levels following ionophore application and a decrease in the amount of Ca2+ released from intracellular stores. Plasma membrane lipid mobility was increased in FIV-infected cells within 24 h of infection. Glutathione levels were affected in a dose dependent fashion. With a standard viral inoculum there was a decrease in GSH which became significant after 8 days postinfection. With a high inoculum dose there was rapid loss of cell viability with an increase in GSH in surviving cells. We have identified several cellular processes altered in FIV-infected astroglia and our findings suggest that FIV-infection of feline astroglia affects cellular membranes, both structurally and functionally.