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Biomedica. 2005 Mar;25(1):136-47.

[The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and the developing central nervous system].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Grupo de Inmunovirología y Neurociencias, Universidad de Antioquia, Medelín, Colombia.


Currently, at least 42 million people are infected worldwide with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Of these, 3.2 million are children infected, in 90% of the cases, through vertical transmission. In Colombia, approximately 200,000 persons have been infected since the beginning of the pandemic, with an increasing trend in the seroprevalence among pregnant women. Although HIV-1 is basically lymphotropic, its capacity to invade the central nervous system (CNS) is well known, generating multiple neurological alterations, especially prominent in children, with encephalopathy being the most prevalent. Classically, two types of neurological disorders are recognized in children, consisting of early and late encephalopathies, each with differing clinical and immunological characteristics. HIV-1 infection of the CNS is limited to macrophages, microglia and astrocytes in a restricted manner. In patients with acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS), neurons are rarely infected, suggesting that cellular and viral soluble factors, are responsible for the neuronal damage. The conclusion is that the CNS in earlier stages of development is especially susceptible to HIV-1 infection. The epidemiological trends predict that these types of clinical manifestations of HIV-1 will increase in frequency, and increases the necessity for an understanding of the underlying neuropathogenesis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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