An immunovirological study of central nervous system involvement during HIV-1 infection of chimpanzees

L. M E Grimaldi, K. K. Murthy, G. Martine, R. Furlan, D. Franciotta, J. W. Eichberg

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Chimpanzees infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are used to model acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Since the central nervous system (CNS) is involved in AIDS, we performed an immunovirological study in 18 chimpanzees inoculated up to 87 months prior to the study (mean, 45 months) with HIV-1 and 8 uninfected controls. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) IgG and albumin levels of infected chimpanzees never exceeded those of controls. The CSF/serum albumin ratio was elevated in 1 of 18 infected chimpanzees compared to controls: however, all animals had an elevated ratio indicating a more open blood-brain harrier relative to humans. The intrathecal IgG production index was elevated in only 1 of 18 infected chimpanzees compared to controls. Identical serum and CSF IgG bands were found by isoelectric focusing in 2 of 8 controls and in 1 of 18 infected chimpanzees. None of these bands reacted with recombinant HIV-1 p24gag or gp120env. HIV-1 was isolated from the peripheral blood of 4 of 18 infected chimpanzees but never from the paired CSF samples. Anti-HIV-1 antibody was detected by a enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 18 of 18 paired serum and CSF samples and by Western blot in 18 of 18 serum and 13 of 18 CSF samples from infected chimpanzees without a difference in pattern. Polymerase chain reaction analysis on brain tissue of one animal was negative for HIV-1 sequences. Our results demonstrate that, unlike human infection, chimpanzees inoculated with HIV-1 show no evidence of isolatable virus in the CSF and no evidence of intrathecal anti-HIV-1 antibody synthesis up to several years after experimental infection. The lack of CNS involvement may contribute to the delay or suppression of clinical disease in infected chimpanzees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Central nervous system
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Chimpanzees
  • Cytokines
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Isoelectric focusing overlay
  • Oligoclonal bands
  • Virus isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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