Ultrastructural morphology and intracellular production of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in brain

Markus F. Meyenhofer, Leon G. Epstein, Eun Sook Cho, Leroy R. Sharer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This is a comparative ultrastructural study of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) particles in infected H9 lymphocyte cultures and in the brain of a six-year-old boy with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) encephalopathy. Viral particles in the cultures and the brain were of various sizes and shapes; particles ranged from 70 to over 160 nm in diameter, with a variable position of dense nucleoids and less dense core shells. In the brain, viral particles were located free in the cytoplasm of both multinucleated giant cells and mononuclear macrophage-like cells. There was intracellular budding of HIV particles from unidentified membranes, yielding intracellular immature or recently budded particles, with crescentic densities. By contrast, HIV particles in the infected H9 lymphocytes were not free in the cytoplasm but were instead located either extracellularly or in intracellular vacuoles. A small percentage of cells in the cultures were surrounded by immature particles only. Production (replication) of HIV occurred within infected macrophage-like cells in the brain of the child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-484
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1987


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Brain infection
  • Electron microscopy
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Lentivirus
  • Retrovirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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