Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the causative agent of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). A large number of AIDS patients show evidence of neurologic involvement, known as AIDS-related subacute encephalopathy, which has been correlated with the presence of HIV in the brain. In this study, two genetically distinct but related viruses were isolated from one patient from two different sources in the central nervous system: brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid. Both viruses were found to replicate in peripheral blood lymphocytes, but only virus from brain tissue will efficiently infect macrophage/monocytes. The viruses also differ in their ability to infect a brain glioma explant culture. This infection of the brain-derived cells in vitro is generally nonproductive, and appears to be some form of persistent or latent infection. These results indicate that genetic variation of HIV in vivo may result in altered cell tropisms and possibly implicate strains of HIV with glial cell tropism in the pathogenesis of some neurologic disorders of AIDS.

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