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Mod Pathol. 2005 Oct;18(10):1357-64.

Chorioamnionitis is associated with placental transmission of human immunodeficiency virus-1 subtype E in the early gestational period.

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Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.


The frequency and the cellular basis for HIV-1 transmission from mother to child in the early gestational period are poorly understood. We compared the placentas of 24 women seropositive for HIV-1 subtype E and who had not received any antiretroviral drugs, to placentas of 25 seronegative women. All placentas were obtained during therapeutic abortion at 6-23 weeks gestation. Placentas and fetal organs were examined by routine light microscopy, immunostaining for p24 capsid protein, and in situ PCR to localize which cells were infected with HIV-1 subtype E. The number of previous abortions was not a factor in placental HIV infection since this number was higher in seronegative women (P < 0.01). There were no significant differences between the placentas of the two groups with respect to presence of chorioamnionitis, villitis, villous stromal fibrosis, infarction, abnormal villous maturation, deciduitis or decidual necrosis. HIV-1 subtype E was detected in up to 83% of placentas, either by immunostaining or in situ PCR, in trophoblast, villous stromal cells, Hofbauer cells, decidual and decidual glandular epithelium. Fetal organs were positive for HIV in 30% (6/20) of cases. There was a significant association between transmission of HIV to the fetus and the histologic findings of chorioamnionitis, plasmacellular deciduitis and decidual cell necrosis. This is the first report showing an association of chorioamnionitis with early in utero transmission of HIV-1 subtype E. This may help explain the cases of in utero transmission that persist despite antiretroviral prophylaxis, given that therapy is started in the late gestational period.

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