Knowledge of immune activation in the brain during acute HIV infection is crucial for the prevention and treatment of HIV-associated neurological disorders. We determined regional brain (basal ganglia, thalamus, and frontal cortex) immune and virological profiles at 7 and 14 days post infection (dpi) with SIVmac239 in rhesus macaques. The basal ganglia and thalamus had detectable viruses earlier (7 dpi) than the frontal cortex (14 dpi) and contained higher quantities of viruses than the latter. Increased immune activation of astrocytes and significant infiltration of macrophages in the thalamus at 14 dpi coincided with elevated plasma viral load, and SIV colocalized only within macrophages. RNA signatures of proinflammatory responses, including IL-6, were detected at 7 dpi in microglia and interestingly, preceded reliable detection of virus in tissues and were maintained in the chronically infected macaques. Countering the proinflammatory response, the antiinflammatory response was not detected until increased TGF-β expression was found in perivascular macrophages at 14 dpi. But this response was not detected in chronic infection. Our data provide evidence that the interplay of acute proinflammatory and antiinflammatory responses in the brain likely contributed to the overt neuroinflammation, where the immune activation preceded reliable viral detection.


Raja Mohan Gopalakrishnan, Malika Aid, Noe B. Mercado, Caitlin Davis, Shaily Malik, Emma Geiger, Valerie Varner, Rhianna Jones, Steven E. Bosinger, Cesar Piedra-Mora, Amanda J. Martinot, Dan H. Barouch, R. Keith Reeves, C. Sabrina Tan


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