Neurological disease is a common finding in children with AIDS and in others without signs of disease but with evidence of congenital HIV-1 infection. To investigate the possibility that HIV-1 can infect fetal central nervous system (CNS) tissue and therefore possibly serve as the substrate for the abnormal neurodevelopment characteristic of pediatric AIDS, eight abortus CNS samples (one set of twins) from seven HIV-1-seropositive intravenous drug users (IVDUs) and eight control abortus CNS samples from eight HIV-1-seronegative IVDUs were analyzed for HIV-1 infection. HIV-1 nucleic acid was detected only after the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in three of eight CNS samples from HIV-seropositive IVDUs but not in samples from seronegative subjects. In situ hybridization confirmed that HIV-1 DNA sequences were in cells in the CNS parenchyma of two of the three positive samples. This study demonstrates that HIV-1 can infect human fetal CNS tissue in vivo, but that the use of PCR may be necessary for its detection.
- Human fetal central nervous system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases