Role of HIV-1 Tat and CC chemokine MIP-1α in the pathogenesis of HIV associated central nervous system disorders

Robert Bonwetsch, Sidney Croul, Max W. Richardson, Carlos Lorenzana, Luis Del Valle, Andrij E. Sverstiuk, Shohreh Amini, Susan Morgello, Kamel Khalili, Jay Rappaport

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47 Scopus citations


Two syndromes affecting cognitive and motor function in the setting of AIDS have been described as HIV encephalopathy (HIVE) and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). HIVE is characterized by the presence of microglial nodules with accompanying astrocytosis. PML is a fatal demyelinating disease of the white matter induced by the human papovavirus JCV which causes cytolytic destruction of glial cells. In addition to the effect of HIV-1 induced immune suppression, HIV may act directly as a co-factor for stimulation of JCV replication in AIDS patients, in part due to Tat-induced activation of JCV gene transcription. Since Tat has been implicated in CNS pathogenesis, we examined its localization in CNS specimens from HIV infected patients with HIVE and PML as well as controls. Based on the observation of CC chemokine induction in monocytes by Tat, we also examined the cellular localization of the CC chemokine Macrophage Inflammatory Protein-1α (MIP-1α) and its cognate receptor CCR-5 in these samples. In HIVE, Tat was primarily localized in astrocytes and microglia, within the nodular lesions. In PML, a marked increase in the number of Tat positive astrocytes was observed. In both HIVE and PML, prominent expression of MIP-1α and CCR-5 was found within areas containing histopathological lesions. CCR-5 positivity of microglia was localized primarily to nodular lesions in HIVE. In PML, increased numbers of cells with monocyte/microglial morphology were observed relative to HIVE. The increased MIP-1 alpha positivity, and potentially other chemokines, may contribute to the pathogenesis of PML in the setting of HIV infection. Tat may play an important role in the path of both HIV associated CNS disease states, acting indirectly through cytokine and chemokine dysregulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-694
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of NeuroVirology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Central nervous system
  • Chemokine
  • HIV-1
  • Tat


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