Neuropathology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

An autopsy review

Carol Petito, E. S. Cho, W. Lemann, B. A. Navia, R. W. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

367 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the brains and spinal cords of 153 adult patients dying with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) at New York and Memorial Hospitals a subacute encephalitis with multinucleated cells was present in 28% of all patients. This encephalitis was characterized by multinucleated cells primarily located in the white matter and associated with myelin pallor and sparse infiltrates of rod cells, macrophages, gemistocytic astrocytes and lymphocytes. The incidence per 12 month period ranged from 0 to 43% and significantly increased between 1983-84 (14%) and 1984-85 (43%). Recent virologic and pathologic studies suggest that this encephalitis may be caused by direct LAV/HTLV-III infection of the central nervous system (CNS). Cytomegalovirus encephalomyelitis and toxoplasmosis were the most common opportunistic infections (26% and 10%, respectively). Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, herpes simplex ventriculitis, varicella-zoster leukoencephalitis and fungal infections were infrequent (less than 3% each). A nonspecific encephalitis with microglial nodules and with mild white matter changes occurred in 17%, vacuolar myelopathy in 29% and CNS lymphoma in 6%. Less than 20% of patients had either normal brains or terminal metabolic encephalopathies. This survey shows that neuropathologic complications of AIDS are frequent. Infections are the most common complication and are caused by probable LAV/HTLV-III infection, or by opportunistic organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-646
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Volume45
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1986
Externally publishedYes

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Encephalitis
Autopsy
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
HIV Infections
Central Nervous System
Metabolic Brain Diseases
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
Pallor
Encephalomyelitis
Herpes Simplex
Chickenpox
Mycoses
Spinal Cord Diseases
Toxoplasmosis
Opportunistic Infections
Herpes Zoster
Brain
Myelin Sheath
Cytomegalovirus
Astrocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Petito, C., Cho, E. S., Lemann, W., Navia, B. A., & Price, R. W. (1986). Neuropathology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS): An autopsy review. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, 45(6), 635-646.

Neuropathology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) : An autopsy review. / Petito, Carol; Cho, E. S.; Lemann, W.; Navia, B. A.; Price, R. W.

In: Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, Vol. 45, No. 6, 01.12.1986, p. 635-646.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Petito, C, Cho, ES, Lemann, W, Navia, BA & Price, RW 1986, 'Neuropathology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS): An autopsy review', Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, vol. 45, no. 6, pp. 635-646.
Petito, Carol ; Cho, E. S. ; Lemann, W. ; Navia, B. A. ; Price, R. W. / Neuropathology of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) : An autopsy review. In: Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 1986 ; Vol. 45, No. 6. pp. 635-646.
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