Monocytes and macrophages play a central role in the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated dementia. They represent prominent targets for HIV infection and are thought to facilitate viral neuroinvasion and neuroinflammatory processes. However, many aspects regarding monocyte brain recruitment in HIV infection remain undefined. The nonhuman primate model of AIDS is uniquely suited for examination of the role of monocytes in the pathogenesis of AIDS-associated encephalitis. Nevertheless, an approach to monitor cell migration from peripheral blood into the central nervous system (CNS) in primates had been lacking. Here, upon autologous transfer of fluorescein dye-labeled leukocytes, we demonstrate the trafficking of dye-positive monocytes into the choroid pfexus stromata and perivascular spaces in the cerebra of rhesus macaques acutefy infected with simian immunodeficiency virus between days 12 and 14 postinfection (p.i.). Dye-positive cells that had migrated expressed the monocyte activation marker CD16 and the macrophage marker CD68. Monocyte neuroinvasion coincided with the presence of the virus in brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid and with the induction of the proinflammatory mediators CXCL9/MIG and CCL2/MCP-1 in the CNS. Prior to neuroinfiltration, plasma viral load levels peaked on day 11 p.i. Furthermore, the numbers of peripheral blood monocytes rapidly increased between days 4 and 8 p.i., and circulating monocytes exhibited increased functional capacity to produce CCL2/MCP-1. Our findings demonstrate acute monocyte brain infiltration in an animal model of AIDS. Such studies facilitate future examinations of the migratory profile of CNS-homing monocytes, the role of monocytes in virus import into the brain, and the disruption of blood-cerebrospinal fluid and blood-brain barrier functions in primates.
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