HIV-1 heterogeneity and cytokines: Neuropathogenesis

P. Shapshak, I. Nagano, K. Xin, W. Bradley, C. B. McCoy, N. C.J. Sun, R. V. Stewart, M. Yoshioka, C. Petito, K. Goodkin, R. Douyon, A. K. Srivastava, K. A. Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Mild manifestations (HIV-1 associated minor cognitive/motor disorder), severe manifestations (HIV-1 associated dementia complex and HIV-1 associated myelopathy), and sensory neuropathy are consequences of HIV-1 infection. Our goal is to elucidate the role of HIV-1 in the complications of AIDS including cytokine immunopathology and HIV-1 DNA sequence variants. We have examined the brain and sensory ganglia from 60 AIDS patients and 20 seronegative controls using PCR, DNA sequencing of the HIV-1 envelope protein (env), in situ hybridization (ISH), and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Using our combined ISH-IHC technique, we could identify different types of cells and HIV-1 simultaneously in cryostat and paraffin sections. We found HIV-1 predominantly in macrophage/microglia in brain. In dorsal root ganglia (DRG) we found rare macrophages infected with HIV-1 and neurons and interstitial cells (including macrophages) which were apoptotic. Cytokines were detected in mononuclear and endothelial cells near neurons. We achieved single copy sensitivity detecting HIV-1 in nervous tissue using nested PCR. We sequenced HIV-1 DNA from 3 intravenous drug users (IDUs): from brain, CSF, and blood PCR amplification was followed by cloning and then sequencing the HIV-1 insert; V1-V5 regions of the envelope (env) gene. We found that the env genes had increased sequence variation compared to the literature, cDNA sequences derived from RNA were less heterogeneous than clones derived from DNA from the same specimens, clones derived from brain are more closely related (show restricted heterogeneity) compared to clones from blood and CSF from the same patients. Patient 149 clones we examined to date did not correspond to any of the designated subtypes (A-F) of HIV-1 based on the DNA sequences of the C2- V3 regions. Finally, the HIV-1 RNA produced in these tissues is derived from a minority of DNA clones. Although HIV-1 infected macrophages are not entirely responsible for pathology in the brain and less so in sensory ganglia, some of the products of infection, cytokines, are more widespread in these tissues. Furthermore, HIV-1 strains infecting the brain appear to exhibit restricted heterogeneity compared to autologous CSF and blood and these strains may be associated with cytokines and pathology. HIV-1 strains that infect nervous tissue and cytokines produced in this tissue may effect neuropathogenesis, in vivo, in spite flow levels of local HIV-1 refection. We attempt to delineate, here, common sequence variations in HIV-1 isolates in the hope of developing future therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-238
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in experimental medicine and biology
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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