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Transplantation. 1993 Jan;55(1):95-103.

The effect of cyclosporine on the progression of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection transmitted by transplantation--data on four cases and review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology, Free University, Berlin, Germany.


Two women and two men were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmitted by renal transplantation from i.v. drug-addicted donors in 1984. The four recipients were treated with cyclosporine and methylprednisolone (one patient only for three months because of early graft failure). Two patients died 66 and 74 months after transplantation, one of endocarditis and one of cerebral hemorrhage. Despite several infections including urinary tract infection (n = 8), peritonitis (n = 1), shunt infection (n = 1), bronchitis (n = 1), salmonellosis (n = 1), herpes stomatitis (n = 2), herpes zoster (n = 1), and cytomegalovirus (n = 1), and despite treatment of several rejection episodes (n = 8), none of them had or has infections typical of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, two patients developed cervical lymphadenopathy and one autoimmune thrombocytopenia 15-20 months after HIV-1 infection. Their T helper cell counts (355/microliters to 75/microliters) and helper/suppressor T cell ratios (1.0-0.2) are distinctly lowered. One patient has membranous glomerulopathy with virus-like particles within and on the outside of the basement membrane and tubuloreticular inclusions in glomerular endothelial cells. We evaluated the case reports of 53 patients with HIV-infection caused by an infected transplant or by blood transfusions during or shortly after transplantation. The cumulative incidence of AIDS was significantly lower in 40 transplant patients with an immunosuppressive regimen including cyclosporine than in 13 transplant patients receiving immunosuppressive treatment without cyclosporine (5-year cumulative risk of AIDS: 31% versus 90%, P = 0.001).

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