Animal models of human immunodeficiency virus 1, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), provide the opportunities to dissect the mechanisms of early interactions of the virus with the central nervous system (CNS). The aims of the present study were to evaluate viral loads within CNS, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), ocular fluid, and the plasma of cats in the first 23 weeks after intravenous inoculation with FIVGL8. Proviral loads were also determined within peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and brain tissue. In this acute phase of infection, virus entered the brain in the majority of animals. Virus distribution was initially in a random fashion, with more diffuse brain involvement as infection progressed. Virus in the CSF was predictive of brain parenchymal infection. While the peak of virus production in blood coincided with proliferation within brain, more sustained production appeared to continue in brain tissue. In contrast, proviral loads in the brain decreased to undetectable levels in the presence of a strengthening PBMC load. A final observation in this study was that there was no direct correlation between viral loads in regions of brain or ocular tissue and the presence of histopathology.
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