Neurologic manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus infection in children

L. G. Epstein, L. R. Sharer, J. M. Oleske, E. M. Connor, J. Goudsmit, L. Bagdon, M. Robert-Guroff, M. R. Koenigsberger

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298 Scopus citations


This report describes the neurologic manifestations of 36 children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. In this cohort, in 16 of 21 children with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), three of 12 children with AIDS-related complex, and one of three asymptomatic seropositive children, a progressive encephalopathy developed. Neurologic signs were often detected early but tended to worsen coincident with progression of the immunodeficiency. The presence of progressive encephalopathy correlated with the absence of serum neutralizing antibodies to HIV and with a poor, usually fatal, outcome. The incubation period from initial HIV infection in the perinatal period to the onset of progressive encephalopathy varied from 2 months to 5 years. Intrablood-brain barrier synthesis of HIV-specific antibodies was demonstrated in eight of 14 children with AIDS and AIDS-related complex, indicating active brain infection with HIV. In three cases this was unassociated with progressive neurologic signs. Unique neuropathologic findings in children who died with HIV infection further suggest that the progressive encephalopathy is the result of primary and persistent infection of the brain with this retrovirus. These findings broaden the spectrum of HIV infection in children and have important implications for the development of antiviral therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-687
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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