Primary pulmonary hypertension in association with human immunodeficiency virus infection. A possible viral etiology for some forms of hypertensive pulmonary arteriopathy

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 May;145(5):1196-200. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/145.5.1196.


Recent reports have suggested a possible association between HIV-1 infection and primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), but most of the patients described to date have either had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) with concurrent lung infections or have administered Factor VIII intravenously for hemophilia. We report three human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-positive homosexual white males with clinical and hemodynamic diagnoses of PPH. None of the patients had any opportunistic lung infections or other pulmonary pathology, nor were they hemophiliacs. They had no histories of intravenous drug use. Lung tissue from two of the patients revealed hypertensive arteriopathy consistent with PPH and no other pulmonary pathology. Attempts at localizing HIV-1 infection to the vascular endothelium with electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, DNA in situ hybridization, and polymerase chain reaction techniques did not reveal direct pulmonary artery infection with the virus. These data and the finding of tubuloreticular structures on electron microscopy suggest that HIV-1 may play a role in the pathogenesis of these cases of PPH through mediator release associated with HIV-1 infection rather than by direct endothelial infection.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Adult
  • Endothelium, Vascular / microbiology
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / microbiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology