The neuropathogenesis of AIDS

Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Jan;5(1):69-81. doi: 10.1038/nri1527.


HIV-associated dementia (HAD) is an important complication of the central nervous system in patients who are infected with HIV-1. Although the incidence of HAD has markedly decreased since it has become possible to effectively control viral replication in the blood by administering highly active antiretroviral therapy, a less severe form of HAD, comprising a milder cognitive and motor disorder, is now potentially a serious problem. Brain macrophages and microglia are the key cell types that are infected by HIV-1 in the central nervous system, and they are likely to mediate the neurodegeneration seen in patients with HAD; however, the precise pathogenesis of this neurodegeneration is still unclear. Here, we discuss the studies that are being carried out to determine the respective contributions of infection, and monocyte and macrophage activation, to disease progression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / etiology
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / physiopathology
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / virology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / virology*
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages / virology
  • Microglia / virology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / virology
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine