Characterization of lymphocytic infiltrates in progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy: Co-localization of CD8+T cells with JCV-infected glial cells

Christian Wüthrich, Santosh Kesari, Woong Ki Kim, Kenneth Williams, Rebecca Gelman, Derek Elmeric, Umberto De Girolami, Jeffrey T. Joseph, Tessa Hedley-Whyte, Igor J. Koralnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


We characterized inflammatory infiltrates in archival brain biopsy and autopsy samples from 26 HIV+ and 20 HIV- patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The predominant inflammatory cells were CD8+T lymphocytes. We defined CD8+T cell distribution with regard to JCV-infected glial cells, PML lesions and the extent of demyelination. In most samples from either HIV+ and HIV- patients, we found positive correlations between the parenchymal CD8+ T cells and JCV-infected glial cells and conversely, negative correlations between the perivascular CD8+ T cells and JCV-infected glial cells in the surrounding brain. Most of these correlations remained significant after accounting for the degree of demyelination and location of the cells relative to lesions. Moreover, high numbers of CD8+ T cells were found within and at the border of active PML lesions. These results suggest that CD8+ T cells are primarily associated with JCV-infected glial cells in most PML cases and that an active ongoing recruitment of CD8+ T cells and possibly viral antigen-specific retention could occur. These observations are discussed in the context of the recent evidence of PML in multiple sclerosis and Crohn's patients treated with natalizumab, underscoring the role of CD8+ T lymphocytes in continued immunosurveillance of the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-128
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • CNS
  • Demyelination
  • HIV
  • Immune response
  • PML

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology

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