Retroviral-associated vasculitis of the nervous system

Neurol Clin. 1997 Nov;15(4):927-44. doi: 10.1016/s0733-8619(05)70356-x.


Vasculitis may involve the central and peripheral nervous system in HIV-infected patients. Central nervous system vasculitis is rare with HIV infection and most are owing to opportunistic infections including varicella, CMV, fungal, tuberculosis, and syphilis. Vasculitis of the peripheral nerve may cause mononeuritis multiplex or polyneuropathy, sometimes as the first symptom of HIV or after AIDS has developed. Symptoms may be limited to the peripheral nerve. The etiology may be infection of endothelial cells, hepatitis B or HIV-induced immune complexes, or dysregulation of cytokines and adhesion molecules. Treatment with steroids alone is often effective; IVIg and cytotoxic agents have also been used. It is uncertain whether vasculitis of the nervous system is ever due to other retroviruses (HIV-2, HTLV-1, and HTLV-2).

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Retroviridae*
  • Vasculitis / complications
  • Vasculitis / virology*