Larisa Poluektova, MD, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Disorders
985215 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-5215
Phone - 402.559.8920
Fax - 402.559.8922

Ongoing Projects

In 2000 I made a unique observation that human lymphocytes transplanted intraperitoneally in SCID mice migrated in the murine brain, if HIV-1-infected autologous macrophages were present there. The interaction between human lymphocytes and HIV-1-infected autologous human macrophages in brain environment leads to the development of HIV-1-specific cellular immune responses. This observation prompted us to adapt this murine model to investigate: 1) earlier consequences of HIV-1 associated CNS disease; 2) mechanisms of local brain damage and repair; 3) utilize humanized SCID mice as a test system for HIV-1 vaccine evaluation and 4) screen potential vaccine candidates.

Analyzing brain pathology in HIV-1 encephalitic mice, we found dividing cells in specific regions of ongoing neurogenesis. This observation stimulated our interest to study the ability of chronically inflamed and intoxicated HIV-1 brain tissue to self-repair by possible replacement of neuronal loss.

Selected Publications

1. Gorantla S, Sneller H, Gebhardt C, Persinger A, Ikezu T, Duke C, Bowers W, Wood C, Gendelman HE, Dewhurstand Poluektova L. Immunization of humanized mice with adenoviral vector encoding HIV-1 proteins accelerates immunodeficiency following viral challenge. J Virol. (submitted October, 2007 Manuscript JVI02208-07).

2. Gorantla S, Liu J, Wang T, Holguin A, Sneller H, Dou H, Kipnis J, Poluektova L, and Gendelman HE. Modulation of Innate Immunity by Copolymer-1 Leads to Neuroprotection in Murine HIV-1 Encephalitis. Glia  In Press, 2007.

3. Gorantla S, Liu J, Sneller H, Dou H, Holguin A, Smith L, Ikezu T, Volsky DJ, Poluektova L, Gendelman HE. Copolymer-1 induces adaptive immune anti-inflammatory glial and neuroprotective responses in a murine model of HIV-1 encephalitis. J Immunol. Oct 1;179(7):4345-56, 2007.

4. Gorantla S, Sneller H, Walters L, Sharp JG, Pirruccello SJ, West JT, Wood C, Dewhurst S, Gendelman HE, Poluektova L. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Pathobiology Studied in Humanized BALB/c-Rag2-/-{gamma}c-/- Mice. J Virol. Mar;81(6):2700-12, 2007.

5. Dou H, Destache CJ, Morehead JR, Mosley RL, Boska MD, Kingsley J, Gorantla S, Poluektova L, Nelson JA, Chaubal M, Werling J, Kipp J, Rabinow B, Gendelman HE. Development of a macrophage-based nanoparticle system for anti-retroviral drug delivery. Blood. Oct 15;108(8):2827-35, 2006.

6. Gorantla S, Dou H, Boska M, Destache CJ, Nelson J, Poluektova L, Rabinow BE, Gendelman HE, Mosley RL. Quantitative magnetic resonance and SPECT imaging for macrophage tissue migration and nanoformulated drug delivery. J Leukoc Biol. Nov;80(5):1165-74, 2006.

7. Persidsky Y, Poluektova L. Immune privilege and HIV-1 persistence in the CNS. Immunol Rev. Oct;213:180-94, 2006.

8. Li B, Duysen EG, Poluektova LY, Murrin LC, Lockridge O. Protection from the toxicity of diisopropylfluorophosphate by adeno-associated virus expressing acetylcholinesterase. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. Jul 15;214(2):152-65, 2006.

9. Poluektova L, Meyer V, Walters L, Paez X, Gendelman HE. Macrophage-induced inflammation affects hippocampal plasticity and neuronal development in a murine model of HIV-1 encephalitis. Glia. Dec;52(4):344-53, 2005.

10. Potula R, Poluektova L, Knipe B, Chrastil J, Heilman D, Dou H, Takikawa O, Munn DH, Gendelman HE, Persidsky Y. Inhibition of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enhances elimination of virus-infected macrophages in an animal model of HIV-1 encephalitis. Blood. Oct 1;106(7):2382-90, 2005.

11. Gorantla S, Santos K, Meyer V, Dewhurst S, Bowers WJ, Federoff HJ, Gendelman HE, Poluektova L. Human Dendritic Cells Transduced with Herpes Simplex Virus Amplicons Encoding Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) gp120 Elicit Adaptive Immune Responses from Human Cells Engrafted into NOD/SCID Mice and Confer Partial Protection against HIV-1 Challenge. J Virol. Feb;79(4):2124-32, 2005.

12.Poluektova, L.,  Gorantla, S.,  Faraci, J., Birusingh, K., Dou, H., and Howard E. Gendelman. Neuroregulatory events follow adaptive immune-mediated elimination of HIV-1-infected macrophages: Studies in a murine model of viral encephalitis. J.Immunol., Jun 15;172(12):7610-7, 2004.


Riga's Medical Institute (Latvian Medical Academy), M.D. with highest honors, 1978

Department of Immunology, Latvian Center of Hepatology, Latvian Medical Academy, Thesis: "Functional activity of NK and K-cells in hepatitis and its outcomes".
Ph.D., 1988

Post Degree Training

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of Quebec at Montreal, Laboratory of Environmental Immunotoxicology (TOXEN), 1993

Postdoctoral Fellow, Creighton University, Department of Pharmaceutical & Adm. Sciences. NE, USA. Training in immunoparmacology and molecular biology, 1996

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Nebraska Medical Center, NE, USA. Neuroimmunology and Neurovirology. 1998

Professional Positions

Senior Researcher, Latvian Medical Academy, Laboratory of Applied Pharmacology and Toxicology, Head of the Immunotoxicology Group.

Senior Researcher
Latvian Medical Academy, Department of Immunology and Immunogenetics.

Instructor and Chief, Vaccine Development Program
Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Disorders, University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Assistant Professor
Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Disorders, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Honors & Awards

1995 - Honorary Certificate of Canadian Network of Toxicology Centers

1998 - Nicholas Badami Research Fellowship Distinction in AIDS Research.

2001 Pathology & Microbiology Department Annual Performance Award

2002 - Basic Science Research Award in Neurovirology presented at the conjoint meeting of 4th International Symposium on Neurovirology and 10th Conference on Neuroscience of HIV Infection, June 19 to22, 2002 at the Rheinterrasse, Düsseldorf, Germany (poster presentation).