HIV neuropathology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Primary human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) neuropathologies can affect all levels of the neuraxis and occur in all stages of natural history disease. Some, like HIV encephalitis, HIV myelitis, and diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis of peripheral nerve, reflect productive infection of the nervous system; others, like vacuolar myelopathy, distal symmetric polyneuropathy, and central and peripheral nervous system demyelination, are not clearly related to regional viral replication, and reflect more complex cascades of dysregulated host immunity and metabolic dysfunction. In pediatric patients, the spectrum of neuropathology is altered by the impacts of HIV on a developing nervous system, with microcephaly, abundant brain mineralization, and corticospinal tract degeneration as examples of this unique interaction. With efficacious therapies, CD8 T-cell encephalitis is emerging as a significant entity; often this is clinically recognized as immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome, but has also been described in the context of viral escape and treatment interruption. The relationship of HIV neuropathology to clinical symptoms is sometimes straightforward, and sometimes mysterious, as individuals can manifest significant deficits in the absence of discrete lesions. However, at all stages of the natural history disease, neuroinflammation is abundant, and critical to the generation of clinical abnormality. Neuropathologic and neurobiologic investigations will be central to understanding HIV nervous system disorders in the era of efficacious therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • HIV
  • encephalitis
  • myelopathy
  • neuropathology
  • neuropathy


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