Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transcripts identified in HIV-related psoriasis and Kaposi's sarcoma lesions

Stephen E. Mahoney, Madeleine Duvic, Brian J. Nickoloff, Michael Minshall, Louis C. Smith, Christopher E.M. Griffiths, Stephen W. Paddock, Dorothy E. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Persons with HIV infection sometimes develop aggressive psoriasis or Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) not usually seen in other immunosupprcssed patients. However, a specific and direct pathophysiological role for HIV-1 in these AIDS-associated disorders remains unclear since HIV has not been easily detected in these skin lesions. By combining in situ hybridization with the sensitive detection technique of confocal laser scanning microscopy, we have demonstrated HIV RNA transcripts in 5 of 15 lesional skin biopsies from HIV-infected psoriasis patients, and in 3 of 8 Kaposi's sarcoma biopsies from HIV-infected patients. HIV transcripts were not detected in normal appearing skin from HIV-infected patients or in psoriatic and normal skin biopsies from uninfected individuals (P = 0.006). Although previous attempts to demonstrate viral sequences in psoriasis and KS lesions have been unsuccessful, in situ hybridization with confocal microscopy has shown the presence of HIV RNA transcripts predominantly within CD4+, Factor XIIIa positive dermal dendrocytes. HIV or cytokines produced by infected cells in skin lesions may therefore play a direct role in the pathogenesis of HIV-associated psoriasis and KS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-185
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Dermal dendrocytes
  • In situ hybridization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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