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Calcium Channel Blockers Protect Rat Brain Cells in Culture from Effects of gp120: Highlights of Neurological Research from the VIII International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, July 19-24, 1992
Lyn Frumkin, M.D., Ph.D.
March 10, 1992
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.