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Am J Pathol. 1997 Oct; 151(4): 1035–1042.
PMCID: PMC1858037

CXCR-4 (Fusin), a co-receptor for the type 1 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), is expressed in the human brain in a variety of cell types, including microglia and neurons.

Abstract

Entry of the type 1 human immunodeficiency virus into most cells requires the presence of the CD4 protein in combination with one of several recently described co-receptors. CXCR-4 (fusin) was the first identified, and it serves as co-receptor for T-cell-line tropic (T-tropic) HIV-1 isolates. To determine the expression of CXCR-4 in the brain, a major target of HIV pathology, we used immunohistochemistry and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction with CXCR-4-specific antibodies and probes. We found that CXCR-4 was expressed in several cell types in brain, but notably in neurons and microglia, a finding that was replicated in tissue culture. The study of the expression of CXCR-4 in the brain, which may be one of many chemokine receptors in the central nervous system, may provide further insight into the interactions between brain cells, pathogens, and the immune system, and help understand the pathogenesis of HIV dementia.

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