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Adv Neuroimmunol. 1995;5(1):57-77.

Lentiviral infection, immune response peptides and sleep.

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  • 1Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037-1027, USA.


The aberrant sleep documented in subjects with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is uniquely important because of the contribution this poor quality sleep makes to the fatigue, disability, and eventual unemployment that befalls these patients. Especially given this importance in clinical care, the research on the prominent sleep changes described in HIV infection remains modest in quantity. The chronic asymptomatic stage of HIV infection is associated with the most intriguing and singular sleep structure changes. Especially robust is the increase in slow wave sleep, particularly in latter portions of the sleep period. This finding is rare in other primary or secondary sleep disorders. The sleep structure alterations are among the most replicable of several pathophysiological sequelae in the brain associated with early HIV infection. It is unlikely that these sleep architecture changes are psychosocial in etiology, and they occur before medical pathology is evident. They are not associated with stress, anxiety, or depression. Evidence is accumulating to support a role for the somnogenic immune peptides tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha and interleukin (IL-1 beta) in the sleep changes and fatigue commonly seen in HIV infection. These peptides are elevated in the blood of HIV-infected individuals, and are somnogenic in clinical use and animal models. The peripheral production of these peptides may also have a role in the regulation of normal sleep physiology. The lentivirus family contains both HIV and the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). The use of the FIV model of HIV infection may provide a way to further investigate the mechanism of a neurotropic, neurotoxic virus initiating the immune acute phase response and affecting sleep. Neurotropic lentivirus infection is a microbiological probe facilitating neuroimmune investigation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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