Extensive astrocyte infection is prominent in human immunodeficiency virus - associated dementia

Melissa J. Churchill, Steven L. Wesselingh, Daniel Cowley, Carlos A. Pardo, Justin C. McArthur, Bruce J. Brew, Paul R. Gorry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

294 Citations (Scopus)


Astrocyte infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is considered rare, so astrocytes are thought to play a secondary role in HIV neuropathogenesis. By combining double immunohistochemistry, laser capture microdissection, and highly sensitive multiplexed polymerase chain reaction to detect HIV DNA in single astrocytes in vivo, we showed that astrocyte infection is extensive in subjects with HIV-associated dementia, occurring in up to 19% of GFAP+ cells. In addition, astrocyte infection frequency correlated with the severity of neuropathological changes and proximity to perivascular macrophages. Our data indicate that astrocytes can be extensively infected with HIV, and suggest an important role for HIV-infected astrocytes in HIV neuropathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-258
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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