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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2002;25:537-62. Epub 2002 Mar 27.

Central nervous system damage, monocytes and macrophages, and neurological disorders in AIDS.

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1
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Division of Viral Pathogenesis Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. kenneth_williams@hms.harvard.edu

Abstract

This review focuses on the role of the extended macrophage/monocyte family in the central nervous system during HIV or SIV infection. The accumulated data, buttressed by recent experimental results, suggest that these cells play a central, pathogenic role in retroviral-associated CNS disease. While the immune system is able to combat the underlying retroviral infection, the accumulation and widespread activation of macrophages, microglia, and perivascular cells in the CNS are held in check. However, with the collapse of the immune system and the disappearance of the CD4(+) T cell population, productive infection reemerges, especially in CNS macrophages. These cells, as well as noninfected macrophages, are stimulated to high levels of activation. When members of this cell group become highly activated, they elaborate a wide spectrum of deleterious substances into the neural parenchyma. In the final phases of HIV or SIV infection, this chronic, widespread, and dramatic level of macrophage/monocyte/microglial activation constitutes a self-sustaining state of macrophage dysregulation, which results in pathological alterations and the emergence of various neurological problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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