Layer III Pyramidal Cells and Cell Column Spacing in HIV-1 Transgenic Rats

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Many studies have shown that subcortical brain areas are affected by Human Immuno-deficiency Virus, type 1 (HIV-1). The first goal of our research was to determine whether HIV-1 anatomically alters cortical brain structures by investigating layer III of the anterior cingulate cortex using a 3-dimensional nearest neighbor analysis. Our second goal was to analyze the same tissue a second time through a 2-dimensional computer analysis cell column program in order to test the dependability of both methods of analysis. We used 6 HIV-1 transgenic (Tg) and 6 age-matched control, female Sprague-Dawley rats as a model for vertically-infected children with HIV-1. The nearest-neighbor distance and mean center-to-center cell spacing distance revealed no significant differences between groups, indicating that layer III of the anterior cingulate cortex is histologically unchanged in rats infected with the virus. These same results were obtained via the 2-dimensional computer analysis, which reiterates the reliability of both stereological analysis programs.

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