Monocyte infiltration is highly associated with loss of the tight junction protein zonula occludens in HIV-1-associated dementia


L. A. Boven, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1. E-mail:


In human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-associated dementia (HAD), consequences of interactions between infiltrating monocytes and brain endothelial cells are not yet fully understood. This study investigated whether the blood–brain barrier is affected in brain tissue of patients suffering from HAD and whether it was possible to find a correlation with the presence or absence of monocytic cells, which have been suggested to play a major role in HAD. Immunohistochemical analysis for zonula occludens 1, a tight junction protein, and CD68, a macrophage marker, revealed that loss of tight junction immunoreactivity was highly correlated with monocyte infiltration and with HAD. This suggests that the presence of perivascular macrophages cells is associated with breakdown of the blood–brain barrier thereby facilitating infiltration of more monocytic cells hence enhancing disease progression.