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Brain Pathol. 2003 Apr;13(2):195-210.

Changing patterns in the neuropathogenesis of HIV during the HAART era.

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1
Department of Pathology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0624, USA.

Abstract

Rapid progress in the development of highly active antiretroviral therapy has changed the observed patterns in HIV encephalitis and AIDS-related CNS opportunistic infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, autopsy studies pointed to a high prevalence of these conditions. With the advent of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, the prevalence at autopsy of opportunistic infections, such as toxoplasmosis and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, declined while that of HIV encephalitis increased. After the introduction of protease inhibitors, a decline in both HIV encephalitis and CNS opportunistic infections was observed. However, with the increasing resistance of HIV strains to antiretrovirals, there has been a resurgence in the frequency of HIV encephalitis and HIV leukoencephalopathy. HIV leukoencephalopathy in AIDS patients failing highly active antiretroviral therapy is characterized by massive infiltration of HIV infected monocytes/macrophages into the brain and extensive white matter destruction. This condition may be attributable to interactions of anti-retrovirals with cerebrovascular endothelium, astroglial cells and white matter of the brain. These interactions may lead to cerebral ischemia, increased blood-brain barrier permeability and demyelination. Potential mechanisms of such interactions include alterations in host cell signaling that may result in trophic factor dysregulation and mitochondrial injury. We conclude that despite the initial success of combined anti-retroviral therapy, more severe forms of HIV encephalitis appear to be emerging as the epidemic matures. Factors that may contribute to this worsening include the prolonged survival of HIV-infected patients, thereby prolonging the brain's exposure to HIV virions and proteins, the use of increasingly toxic combinations of poorly penetrating drugs in highly antiretroviral-experienced AIDS patients, and selection of more virulent HIV strains with higher replication rates and greater virulence in neural tissues.

PMID:
12744473
PMCID:
PMC4842209
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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