Analysis of ENV V3 Sequences From HIV-1-Infected Brain Indicates Restrained Virus Expression Throughout the Disease

Analysis of ENV V3 Sequences From HIV-1-Infected Brain Indicates Restrained Virus Expression Throughout the Disease

Analysis of ENV V3 Sequences From HIV-1-Infected Brain Indicates Restrained Virus Expression Throughout the Disease

Abstract

The isolation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of asymptomatic virus carriers suggests that the viral infection spreading to the brain occurs early during infection. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether HIV-1 infection of the brainparenchyma also occurs during the early phase of infection. We also wished to compare the degree of replication of the virus in the brain at different clinical stages associated with HIV-1 infection. With the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the viral genomes present in seven of eight brainspecimens obtained from two asymptomatic HIV-1 carriers and six AIDS patients were amplified. Thereafter, the number of viral copies present in each brain specimen was quantified, the third variable region (V3) of the gp 120 glycoprotein was sequenced and these results compared with the histopathological findings in the tissue. The HIV-1 DNA genome was amplified from seven of the eight brain tissues, including the specimens obtained from the two asymptomatic carriers. An increased number of viral copies in the brain was found in association with histopathological findings of HIV-1 encephalitis. The analysis of the V3 sequences, however, revealed the presence of a homogeneous virus population in the brain at every clinical stage of the disease. These results suggest that, although entry of the virus in the parenchyma may occur early during infection, HIV-1 replication in thebrain is constrained until the terminal phase of AIDS encephalitis.

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