Author(s): Van Marle G, Rourke SB, Zhang K, Silva C, Ethier J,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: To examine the relationship between the humoral immune response and viral envelope diversity among HIV/AIDS patients with or without HIV-associated dementia (HAD). METHODS: Whole blood and sera were collected from age- and disease-progression matched AIDS-defined patients with and without neuro-cognitive impairment at two centers. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from whole blood and separated into monocyte/macrophage and peripheral blood lymphocyte (PBL) preparations. Genomic DNA, isolated from the PBL population, was used as template to amplify HIV-1 C2V3 envelope sequences in a nested PCR protocol. The resulting fragments were sequenced and subjected to a phylogenetic analysis. RESULTS: Sera from non-demented (ND; n = 21) patients neutralized infection of CCR5-dependent, but not CXCR4-dependent viruses, more efficiently than sera from HAD patients (n = 15) (P < 0.05). A recombinant virus containing a brain derived C2V3 sequence was also neutralized less efficiently by sera from HAD patients ( < 0.05). C2V3 envelope sequences amplified from PBL revealed significantly greater diversity within the V3 region from HAD compared with ND patients (P < 0.001). The number of non-synonymous substitutions was positively correlated with the severity of neuro-cognitive impairment of patients (P < 0.005). Similarly, brain derived V3 sequences exhibited significantly increased diversity among HAD patients (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Our findings imply that HAD patients exhibited impaired serological responses that may lead to the emergence of viral mutants that potentially could infect the brain and mediate neurodegeneration.
This article was published in AIDS
and referenced in Journal of Neuroinfectious Diseases