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J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Feb;32(2):364-70.

MT-2 cell tropism as prognostic marker for disease progression in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The ability of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates to replicate in MT-2 cells was investigated as a prognostic marker for disease progression and CD4+ lymphocyte depletion in 53 HIV-1-infected, asymptomatic individuals. MT-2-negative viruses were isolated from 49% of the patients both early and late during the follow-up period; 38% converted from being MT-2 negative to MT-2 positive, while 11% were MT-2 positive throughout the study. One individual showed a fluctuating virus phenotype. The loss of CD4+ lymphocytes was significantly more rapid in MT-2-positive patients. We found a broad spectrum of CD4+ lymphocyte changes in patients whose virus changed its MT-2 tropism. Our data suggest that the changes could be divided into three general patterns. A stable or slowly decreasing CD4+ lymphocyte count changed into a more rapid fall in 44% of the patients, no significant change in rate of decline could be noted in 44% of the patients, while a stable CD4+ lymphocyte level after a change in MT-2 tropism was noted in 12% of the patients. A correlation between MT-2 tropism and clinical symptoms was also noted. Half of the patients with MT-2-negative virus throughout the study were still asymptomatic after a mean follow-up time of 80 months, while only 15% of those who converted remained asymptomatic. All patients with MT-2-positive viruses at the time of inclusion in the study developed HIV-1-related symptoms, and half of them died during the study. The MT-2 status of 16 patients, could be determined at the time of AIDS diagnosis; 50% were Mt-2 positive, while 50% were MT-2 negative. No difference in AIDS-defining diagnoses or CD4+ lymphocyte counts at the time of diagnosis was noted. Knowledge of the HIV-1 phenotype may improve the early recognition of progressive disease.

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