Of the 93 acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients autopsied between 1983 and 1986, 27 had evidence of viral encephalitis of which 3 had progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), confirmed by electron microscopy. Using in situ hybridization with biotinylated JC virus probes, paraffin sections from the brains of these 27 patients were examined. JC virus was found only in those patients with histologically proven PML, while no evidence of JC virus was detected in the brains of the other 24 AIDS patients despite the presence of white matter pathology. Brain biopsies of the PML patients demonstrated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected macrophages infiltrating regions of demyelination. When the patients died (2 to 6 months after diagnosis of PML), many more macrophages contained HIV antigens and some had fused to form multinucleated giant cells. These findings suggest that in AIDS patients, papovaviruses not only cause damage by directly infecting oligodendroglia but causes additional damage by eliciting the ingress of macrophages latently infected with HIV. As was seen with other infections (e.g., cytomegalovirus) of the CNS this might be a general mechanism of HIV entry into the brain.
- Human immunodeficiency virus
- In situ hybridization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience