Spinal cord disease in children with HIV‐1 infection: a combined molecular biological and neuropathological study

L. R. SHARER*, P. C. DOWLING, J. MICHAELS, S. D. COOK, J. MENONNA, B. M. BLUMBERGH, L. G. EPSTEIN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

An autopsy study was performed on spinal cords from 18 children who died with HIV‐1 infection, using standard histopathologic techniques as well as in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry for HIV‐1. Of 16 spinal cords examined by histology, nine had inflammatory cell infiltrates and six had multinucleated cells; both types of lesion are associated with the presence of HIV‐1 in central nervous system tissue. HIV‐1 type lesions were often present in the spinal cord and brain from the same patient. Pallor of myelin in corticospinal tracts in the cord was present in half of the cases; this change correlated with diffuse myelin pallor in the corresponding brains, but not with the HIV‐1 associated changes in the cords. In situ hybridization for HIV‐1 nucleic acid sequences gave positive results in seven of 18 spinal cords, with hybridizing signal usually localized to inflammatory cell infiltrates and multinucleated cells. Positive in situ hybridization, on frozen sections, correlated with the presence of HIV‐1 associated changes on paraffin sections from the same cases. Immunocytochemistry for p25 core protein of HIV‐1, using a monoclonal antibody on frozen sections, was positive in multinucleated cells, macrophages, and microglia. In this series there were two cases of vacuolar myelopathy, one a 30–month‐old boy who had concomitant measles virus in the spinal cord grey matter, and the other nine‐year‐old girl who had severe HIV‐1 infection of the cord. Other than the single case of measles virus, there were no opportunistic infections in the cords in this series. HIV‐1 frequently involves the spinal cord in children with AIDS, while opportunistic infections are rare. Vacuolar myelopathy occurs in children with HIV‐1 infection, although its occurrence is much less frequent than in adults with AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-331
Number of pages15
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1990

Keywords

  • HIV‐1
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • children
  • corticospinal tracts
  • immunocytochemistry
  • in situ hybridization
  • measles
  • spinal cord
  • vacuolar myelopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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