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N Engl J Med. 1985 Dec 12;313(24):1498-504.

Intra-blood-brain-barrier synthesis of HTLV-III-specific IgG in patients with neurologic symptoms associated with AIDS or AIDS-related complex.


Intra-blood-brain-barrier production of virus-specific antibody is good evidence of infection within the blood-brain barrier. Patients with the acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have an increased incidence of neurologic abnormalities--i.e., unexplained, diffuse encephalopathy manifested clinically as chronic progressive dementia. To define the role of human T-cell lymphotropic virus Type III (HTLV-III), the etiologic agent of AIDS, in the pathogenesis of neurologic dysfunction, we compared cerebrospinal fluid and serum from patients with neurologic symptoms associated with AIDS and the AIDS-related complex for the presence of antibodies directed against HTLV-III. Antibodies directed against HTLV-III antigens were detected by four immunologic tests: a fixed-cell immunofluorescence assay, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, immunoblots of viral lysates, and immunoprecipitation of cellular lysates. All patients were seropositive, and 22 of 23 (96 per cent) had HTLV-III-specific antibodies in their cerebrospinal fluid. Unique oligoclonal IgG bands were detected in the cerebrospinal fluid, and the rate of IgG synthesis within the blood-brain barrier was elevated. In eight of nine patients tested, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that the percentage of HTLV-III-specific IgG in cerebrospinal fluid was higher than in serum, suggesting that HTLV-III infection of neurologic tissue occurs in the majority of patients with neurologic disease associated with AIDS or its related complex.

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