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Adherent human embryo brain cells have been infected with HIV. Cells replicating HIV were maintained in culture for seven sequential passes over 7 months and continued to produce HIV during that time. Human embryo brain cells displayed glial-cell morphology and expressed glial fibrillary acidic protein. Electron microscopy showed clusters of virus particles around these cells as well as budding virus. Extracted, infected glial cells revealed bands for three major gag proteins, p18, p24 and p55, in Western blotting. It was not possible to detect CD4 antigen on the surface of these cells by indirect immunofluorescence or alkaline phosphatase staining with CD4 monoclonal antibodies. The results of these experiments indicate that HIV replicates in non-malignant brain cells. This observation strengthens the postulated aetiological link between HIV and the encephalopathy, dementia and other neurological symptoms observed in HIV-infected patients.


Journal article


AIDS (London, England)

Publication Date





229 - 234


Department of Medical Microbiology, University College and Middlesex Hospital School of Medicine, London, UK.


Brain, Neuroglia, Cells, Cultured, Humans, HIV, Receptors, Virus, Receptors, HIV, Microscopy, Electron, Virus Replication