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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1996 Apr 10;12(6):471-6.

HIV type 1 V3 sequences and the development of dementia during AIDS.

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Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The most frequent neurological complication of AIDS is a dementia-like syndrome. Power and collaborators (J Virol 1994; 68:4643-4649) have reported an association between the clinical signs of AIDS dementia and the amino acid composition of two positions (305 and 329) within the V3 region of HIV-1 strains amplified from brain tissue. Similarly, we analyzed position 305 in the V3 region of HIV-1 present in the brain or cerebrospinal fluid of 25 nondemented subjects at different clinical stages of HIV-1 infection. Our results are, however, at variance with the findings presented by Power and colleagues. Histidine, found to be common among sequences derived from demented patients, was also present in the majority (16 of 25) of nondemented patients analyzed by us. In the hands of Power and colleagues, sequences derived from nondemented patients contained proline at position 305. None of our patients had proline in this position. We also asked the question whether the presence of a specific amino acid at position 305 of the V3 loop is linked to an increased capacity of HIV-1 isolates to infect primary microglial cells, the major target cell for HIV-1 infection in the brain. Primary HIV-1 isolates derived from blood and cerebrospinal fluid of five patients, two asymptomatic and three AIDS patients, were used to infect microglia cell cultures. Infection was monitored by syncytium formation and by p24 antigen release in the culture supernatant. All but one of the paired blood/CSF isolates replicated in human brain cultures. Replication occurred independently from the amino acid present at position 305 of the V3 region of the viral envelope. Our results indicate that the majority of HIV-1 isolates, even derived during the asymptomatic stage, have the capacity to infect microglial cells. The relevance of viral envelope sequences in determining tropism for microglial cells and development of neurological symptoms remains an open question.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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