Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Reference work entry
Short Description or Definition
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (Portegies and Berger 2007). HIV is a viral pathogen that targets CD4+ T cells (also called T4 or T helper cells), which are lymphocyte cells with cluster determinant 4 + surface receptor sites, originating in the thymus of the human body’s immune system. HIV is known to cause damage to the immune system as well as the central nervous system. The exact cause of this damage is unclear, but explanatory models have been proposed. For example, the “Trojan horse” or neuroinflammation model is thought to involve immune system cells known as macrophages which conceal and convey HIV into the brain, where they can disrupt supportive brain cells such as astrocytes and microglia. In the neuroinflammation model, the body’s overstimulated immune system causes an increased production of CD14+ CD16+ monocytes which flood the brain, causing...
References and Readings
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