In the current study, 35 pairs of corneas from asymptomatic carriers of HIV-1 and ten pairs from AIDS patients were analyzed for the presence of HIV-1 and HHV-6. The tissues were evaluated for viral antigens, transcripts, DNA sequences and intact and infectious virus. Three corneas from two asymptomatic carriers of HIV-1 and three corneas from two AIDS patients were culture positive for HIV-1. One of the three HIV-1 positive corneas from an asymptomatic HIV-1 carrier also was culture positive for HHV-6. Two of the tissue culture positive corneas from asymptomatic HIV-1 carriers and two from AIDS patients also tested positive for HIV-1 transcriptional activity by in situ hybridization. The label denoting the transcriptional activity was limited to stromal keratocytes. Most significantly, we were able to demonstrate the presence of HIV-1 particle(s) in sections and cultured PBMC from one of the HIV-1 culture positive corneas. PBMC from the same cornea also contained herpes virus particles. This report strengthens our earlier findings that HIV-1 and HHV-6 can invade corneal tissue, which emphasizes the importance of vigorous screening of corneal donors, specifically donors with HIV-1 exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience