Dennis L. Kolson, M.D., Ph.D.

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Professor of Neurology
Department: Neurology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
280C Clinical Research Building
University of Pennsylvania
415 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104/6146
Office: 215 573-3505
Fax: 215 573-2029
Lab: 215-573-3504
B.S. (Biology)
Pennsylvania State University, magna cum laude, 1977.
M.S. (Biological Sciences)
University of Pittsburgh, 1980.
Ph.D. (Biological Sciences)
University of Pittsburgh, 1984.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, cum laude, 1985.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Mechansims and determinants of HIV induced neuronal injury. Neuronal cell responses to virus induced injury.

Key words: neuron, hippocampus, apoptosis, gene expression, single-cell mRNA, HIV, chemokine receptor, NMDA receptor.

Description of Research

The Kolson lab focuses the roles for inflammation, immune activation, and oxidative stress in virus-induced neurodegeneration. Major areas of focus involve immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus/SIV). Research in the lab involves analysis of human brain specimens from HIV infected individuals, studies of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in SIV-infected Rhesus macaques, in vitro modeling of HIV-induced neurodegeneration, and oxidative stress responses in vitro and in vivo. We also study responses to HIV infection in cohorts of individuals participating in national/international clinical cohort trials.

We have developed a unique in vitro model of HIV-induced neurodegeneration, and we combine this model with analyses of autopsied human brains from HIV infected individuals and SIV-infected Rhesus macaques to identify pathways of neurodegeneration and modulating effects of host antioxidant response genes. We have identified a defect in the human host anti-oxidant response to HIV infection of the brain that determines an individual's risk for neurodegeneration and neurocognitive impairment in HIV infection. This has led to a pilot proof-of-principle neuroprotection drug study in Rhesus macaques. In neurogenetic studies, we have linked a common genetic polymorphism ((GT)n dinucleotide repeat length variation) in the antioxidant gene heme oxygenase-1, to risk for neuroinflammation and neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected persons.

Dr. Kolson has had active NIH funding for his laboratory since 1992, and he has trained PhD and MD-PhD students in his lab. Several of his students have been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschtein (F30, F31) National Research Service Award (NRSA) to support their own research training. He is active in training graduate and medical students as a laboratory research mentor, and he also gives interested trainees an opportunity for exposure to translational aspects of neurovirology/neuroimmunology research by offering students an opportunity to attend his weekly multiple sclerosis outpatient clinic.

Selected Publications

Kolson DL, Sabnekar P, Baybis M and Crino PB: Gene expression in TUNEL-positive Neurons in HIV-infected brain. J. Neurovirol. 10((suppl. 1)): 102-7, 2004.

Patel SH, Kolson DL, Glosser G, Matozzo I, Ge Y, Babb JS, Mannon LJ and Grossman RI. : Correlation between percentage of brain parenchymal volume and neurocognitive performance in HIV infected patients. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 23: 543-549, 2002.

Chen W, Sulcove J, Frank I, Jaffer S, Ozdener H and Kolson DL. : Development of a human neuronal cell model for HIV/macrophage-induced neurotoxicity: apoptosis induced by HIV-1 primary isolates and evidence for involvement of the Bcl-2/Bcl-xL-sensitive intrinsic apoptosis pathway. J. Virology 76: 9407-9419, 2002.

Ge Y, Grossman RI, Babb JS, Rabin ML, Mannon LJ and Kolson DL. : Age-related total gray matter and white matter changes in normal adult brain. Part I. Volumetric MR imaging analysis. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 23: 1327-1333, 2002.

Ge Y, Grossman RI, Babb JS, Rabin ML, Mannon LJ and Kolson DL. : Age-related total gray matter and white matter changes in normal adult brain. Part II: quantitative magnetization transfer ratio histogram analysis. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 23: 1334-1341, 2002.

O’Donnell, LA, Chen W, Agrawal A, Sulcove J and Kolson DL. : Potential neuroprotective role of APJ/apelin interactions: protection against HIV-induced apoptosis. NIMH workshop: Viral and Host Genetic Factyors Regulating HIV/CNS Disease, Rockville, MD. 2002.

Martin-Garcia J, Kolson DL, Gonzalez-Scarano F. : Chemokine receptors in the brain: their role in HIV infection and pathogenesis. AIDS (in press). 2002.

Ge Y, Grossman RL, Udupa JK, Babb JS, Kolson DL and McGowan JC. : Magnetization transfer ratio histogram analysis of gray matter in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Am. J. Neuroradiol. 22: 470-475, 2001.

Ge Y, Grossman RL, Udupa JK, Babb JS, Nyul LG and Kolson DL. : Brain atrophy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: fractional volumetric analysis of gray matter and white matter. Radiology 220: 606-610, 2001.

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Last updated: 02/07/2021
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