We previously reported that pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) became infected after intravenous inoculation with the LAI strain of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), an isolate that replicates in both M. nemestrina lymphocytes and blood-derived monocyte/macrophages. In the current study we investigated the presence of HIV-1 and pathology in the postmortem brains of four of these macaques. Histopathological findings revealed focal lesions in white matter in the frontal and occipital lobes of one macaque, with myelin loss, nerve fibre loss, and gliosis within these lesions. Semi-quantitative, solution-based PCR revealed HIV-1 DNA in the brains of two of the other macaques. Using slide-based PCR-driven in situ hybridization, we studied these two macaques further and detected intranuclear, circular HIV-1 DNA in vascular endothelia and other non-neuronal brain cells. These findings indicate that M. nemestrina brain can be infected with HIV-1 in vivo and may provide a useful animal model for understanding early HIV-1 brain infection in humans.
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