Blood-brain barrier abnormalities in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: immunohistochemical localization of serum proteins in postmortem brain

Ann Neurol. 1992 Nov;32(5):658-66. doi: 10.1002/ana.410320509.


Abnormalities in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) may be important in mediating some of the tissue damage that accompanies human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection of the brain, as well as in facilitating viral entry into the central nervous system. Accordingly, immunohistochemical detection of fibrinogen (FIB) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) was used as a marker of vascular permeability in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded brains of patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) who had HIV encephalitis (HIVE) (n = 17) and those who did not have HIVE (n = 16); nonimmunosuppressed patients served as control subjects (n = 22). The sex ratios and postmortem intervals were similar in all groups (p > 0.05), but the age of the two AIDS groups were younger than the control group (43.2 and 40.9 versus 62.5 yr; p < 0.05). The two AIDS groups had higher immunostaining for FIB and IgG than the control group (p < 0.001 and p < 0.0001, respectively) but did not differ from one another. Furthermore, the two AIDS groups had a significantly higher incidence of combined extravasation of both FIB and IgG, whereas the control group had a significantly higher incidence of negative staining for both proteins (p < 0.002). More than 95% of the microglial nodules of HIV were negative for serum proteins; however, all focal lesions with tissue necrosis, including lymphoma, opportunistic infections, and HIV (rarely), contained extravasated serum proteins.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / pathology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Adult
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Cerebral Infarction / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Fibrinogen