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Am J Pathol. 1998 Jan;152(1):167-78.

Localization of HIV-1 co-receptors CCR5 and CXCR4 in the brain of children with AIDS.

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Division of Human Retrovirology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The chemokine receptors CCR5 and CXCR4 are co-receptors together with CD4 for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 entry into target cells. Macrophage-tropic HIV-1 viruses use CCR5 as a co-receptor, whereas T-cell-line tropic viruses use CXCR4. HIV-1 infects the brain and causes a progressive encephalopathy in 20 to 30% of infected children and adults. Most of the HIV-1-infected cells in the brain are macrophages and microglia. We examined expression of CCR5 and CXCR4 in brain tissue from 20 pediatric acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients in relation to neuropathological consequences of HIV-1 infection. The overall frequency of CCR5-positive perivascular mononuclear cells and macrophages was increased in the brains of children with severe HIV-1 encephalitis (HIVE) compared with children with mild HIVE or non-AIDS controls, whereas the frequency of CXCR4-positive perivascular cells did not correlate with disease severity. CCR5- and CXCR4-positive macrophages and microglia were detected in inflammatory lesions in the brain of children with severe HIVE. In addition, CXCR4 was detected in a subpopulation of neurons in autopsy brain tissue and primary human brain cultures. Similar findings were demonstrated in the brain of adult AIDS patients and controls. These findings suggest that CCR5-positive mononuclear cells, macrophages, and microglia contribute to disease progression in the central nervous system of children and adults with AIDS by serving as targets for virus replication.

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