Infection of human fetal astrocytes with HIV-1: Viral tropism and the role of cell to cell contact in viral transmission

Avindra Nath, Vincent Hartloper, Monica Furer, Keith R. Fowke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Astrocyte cultures from human fetal brain were infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) either as free virus or with a chronically infected lymphoblastoid cell line and monitored for signs of infection. The lymphocylotropic strains HIV,„ and HIVSRIARV.2> but not the monocytotropic strain HIVAih.M infected the human fetal astrocytes. The infected cells were monitored by immunocytochemistry, detection of p24 antigen in the supernatants and polymerase chain reaction amplification of the proviral DNA. No morphological or cytopathic effects were seen in these cells. Upon co-culture of astrocytes with a lymphoblastoid cell line chronically infected with HIVsr2IARV.2>, the lymphoblastoid cells readily adhered to the astrocytes as determined by a "Cr adhesion assay and by light and electron microscopy. This cell to cell contact resulted in infection of increased numbers of astrocytes. Similar adhesion of lymphoblasts to microglia was not seen. Thus, astrocytes from human fetal brain can be infected in vitro directly by lymphocylotropic strains of HIV or by adherence to infected lymphoblastoid cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-330
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1995


  • Adhesion
  • Astrocytes
  • Brain
  • Fetal
  • HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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