Seattle Treatment Education Project: STEP Perspective - Volume 4,
In cultures ("petri dishes"), investigators have previously observed that
an outer portion of HIV, termed gp120, is toxic to rat brain neurons. This
finding has been proposed as a means by which HIV disrupts neuron
function in the brains of those with AIDS dementia complex. H. Ushijima
and his associates at NIH, Japan, reported that memantine, a calcium
channel blocker, prevented the destruction of neurons exposed to gp120
in petri dishes.
COMMENT: It remains unclear whether "test tube" models of gp120-brain
neuron destruction represent what happens in the brains of those with
AIDS dementia. Much information is needed to design rational calcium
channel treatment strategies is still unavailable. However, this study adds
support to the increasing efforts to assess the effect of calcium channel
blockers on AIDS dementia complex.