J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 55:219-221 doi:10.1136/jnnp.55.3.219
  • Research Article

Tumour necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) and neurological disorders in HIV infection.

  1. C M Mastroianni,
  2. F Paoletti,
  3. C Valenti,
  4. V Vullo,
  5. E Jirillo,
  6. S Delia
  1. Istituto di Malattie Infettive, Università La Sapienza Rome, Italy.


      Tumour necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) concentrations were determined in the CSF from 42 HIV-infected patients, with or without CNS involvement. In addition, 14 subjects with various neurological disorders but without HIV antibodies were included as controls. Raised CSF concentrations of TNF-alpha (greater than 40 ng/l) were detected both in patients with AIDS dementia complex (ADC) (6/9) and with CNS opportunistic infections (10/19) and, less commonly, in HIV infected subjects without CNS diseases (2/14) and in anti-HIV negative controls (1/14). The highest CSF concentrations of TNF-alpha (greater than 100 ng/l), however, were found in seven out of eight patients with cryptococcal meningitis. Although a role for TNF-alpha in demyelinating lesions associated with ADC has been suggested, our results indicate that a clear elevation of TNF-alpha in the CSF from HIV positive patients mostly occurs in acute inflammatory disorders, such as cryptococcal meningitis.