The central nervous system (CNS) is of particular importance in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. First, the CNS may be difficult to access for anti-retroviral treatment and may become a sanctuary for residual viruses. Second, HIV-1 infection may lead to AIDS dementia complex (ADC) culminating in HIV-1 encephalitis. In order to examine the pattern of drug resistance and the role of encephalitis in enhancing viral redistribution to the CNS, we compared pol gene quasispecies of the spleen and brain in two patients with and two patients without HIV-1 encephalitis, who had been treated with zidovudine (AZT). Although a variable degree of AZT resistance was noted in both the spleen and brain of all patients, phylogenetic analysis indicated that quasispecies developed rather independently in the systemic circulation (spleen) and CNS (brain) of patients without HIV-1 encephalitis, while similar pol gene sequences were obtained from the two compartments of patients with HIV-1 encephalitis. env gene V3 region of patients with HIV-1 encephalitis showed distinct quasispecies in the spleen and brain. Our results suggest that HIV-1 redistribution to CNS is more active in cases with encephalitis and that HIV-1 distributed late to CNS grow actively under certain selective pressure exerted on the V3 region of the env gene.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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