The choroid plexus (CPx) may be an important site of viral dissemination since monocytes and dendritic cells in its stroma are infected with HIV in AIDS patients and since the ratio of CPx to brain infection is more than 2:1. In order to see if CPx infection also develops in asymptomatic (ASY) HIV-infected patients, we examined archival formalin-fixed brain and CPx from 14 AIDS and seven ASY cases, using routine histology, immunohistochemistry for HIV gp41, and DNA extraction and gene amplification for HIV DNA. Eight of 14 AIDS (57%) had HIV-positive cells in the CPx and four (29%) had HIV encephalitis. Two of seven ASY cases (29%) had HIV-positive cells in the CPx but none had HIV encephalitis. Extracted DNA from brain, CPx and systemic organs of five ASY cases was amplified by nested PCR with or without Southern blotting for HIV env gene. It was positive in systemic organs in five cases; in CPx in four cases; and in brain in one case. This study shows that the CPx is a site of HIV infection in ASY patients and that the frequency of CPx infection is higher than seen in brain in both AIDS and ASY cases. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the CPx may be a site for hematogeneous spread and a reservoir for HIV infection during the period of clinical latency.
- Viral reservoir
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience