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Annu Rev Neurosci. 1996;19:1-26.

Human immunodeficiency virus and the brain.

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Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects the nervous system in the majority of patients, causing a variety of neurological syndromes throughout the course of the disease. This review focuses on the effects of HIV in the central nervous system, with an emphasis on HIV-associated dementia. HIV-associated dementia occurs in a subset of patients with AIDS; it is unclear why these patients and not all patients develop the disease. Several factors are likely to be involved in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated dementia, including neurotoxins released from the virus and/or infected macrophages and microglia, immunologic dysregulation of macrophage function, and specific genetic strains of HIV. These factors, and their possible interactions, are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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