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J Infect Dis. 1995 Jul;172(1):105-12.

Massive activation of immune cells with an intact T cell repertoire in acute human immunodeficiency virus syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Modena School of Medicine, Italy.


In 8 patients with symptomatic, acute primary infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a dramatic and persistent decrease in CD4+ lymphocytes was seen, accompanied by a marked increase in activated/memory CD8+ T cells (CD38+, CD45R0+, HLA-DR+, with high amounts of cell adhesion molecules), which represented most circulating lymphocytes, but no gross alterations in V beta T cell repertoire. Extremely high plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines were observed. Three patients were followed for 2-3 years: The number of CD4+ cells, extremely low at first, increased significantly in a few months but decreased rapidly after a short stable period. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes bearing markers of immunologic activation/memory could play an important role in the earliest phases of the disease. It remains to be established how such a dramatic onset could determine the rapid progression of the infection that seems characteristic of patients with acute HIV syndrome.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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