HIV-related acute inflammatory leukoencephalopathy of undetermined origin: Review of the literature

Eleonora Tavazzi, V. Bargiggia, A. Pichiecchio, S. Delbue, R. Maserati, S. Bastianello, P. Ferrante, L. Minoli, G. Ricevuti, M. Ceroni, E. Marchioni

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HIV-related acute inflammatory leukoencephalopathy of undetermined origin (AIL) has been anecdotally described in literature as being responsible for cognitive and motor deficits. We carried out a review of all the cases of AIL published in literature. Articles were selected according to 2 criteria: acute onset of symptoms; undetermined aetiology and non-fulfilment of multiple sclerosis diagnostic criteria. They were then analyzed in terms of clinical, biological and instrumental features, therapy, diagnostic classification and prognosis. Although rare (21 patients out of about 4,000 publications), AIL is of particular interest, as the comprehension of its mechanisms could give some insight into the direct and immune-mediated actions of HIV within the brain. All the reported patients share several clinical, histopathological, radiological and CSF features, leading to hypothesize a similar aetiopathogenetic mechanism. Conversely, we observed a high heterogeneity of treatment and diagnostic classification, which could have conditioned the broad prognostic variability. The absence of a defined aetiology leads to consider these forms as a particular subgroup of "not determined leucoencephalopathies" (NDLE), with both MRI and histological pattern dominated by inflammation as distinctive feature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-700
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
  • Acute leukoencephalopathies
  • AIDS
  • CNS
  • HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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