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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2005 Feb;25(1):181-99.

Mechanisms of the blood-brain barrier disruption in HIV-1 infection.

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Department of Surgery, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.


(1) Alterations of brain microvasculature and the disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity are commonly associated with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. These changes are most frequently found in human immunodeficiency virus-related encephalitis (HIVE) and in human immunodeficiency virus-associated dementia (HAD). (2) It has been hypothesized that the disruption of the BBB occurs early in the course of HIV-1 infection and can be responsible for HIV-1 entry into the CNS. (3) The current review discusses the mechanisms of injury to brain endothelial cells and alterations of the BBB integrity in HIV-infection with focus on the vascular effects of HIV Tat protein. In addition, this review describes the mechanisms of the BBB disruption due to HIV-1 or Tat protein interaction with selected risk factors for HIV infection, such as substance abuse and aging.

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