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J Neuroimmunol. 1999 Feb 1;94(1-2):153-6.

High levels in serum, but no signs of intrathecal synthesis of anti-sulfatide antibodies in HIV-1 infected individuals with or without central nervous system complications.

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  • 1Institute of Internal Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden. magnus.gisslen@medfak.gu.se


Myelin degeneration is commonly found in the central nervous system (CNS) of individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), especially in patients with HIV-1-associated dementia. We analysed cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples from 25 HIV-1 infected individuals for the presence of antibodies directed against sulfatide, the major acidic glycosphingolipid in myelin. Nine of the patients had CNS complications, including 3 with HIV-1-associated dementia, and 16 had no neurological symptoms. Elevated titres of anti-sulfatide antibodies were found in serum from 24/25 HIV-1-infected individuals but in none of them in the CSF. Although the vast majority of HIV-1-infected individuals harbour autoantibodies directed against sulfatide in serum, the lack of detectable intrathecal production indicates that anti-sulfatide antibodies are not a major component in the pathogenesis of CNS myelin damage in HIV-1 infection.

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