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AIDS. 1996 Jul;10(8):849-57.

Rapid plasma virus and CD4+ T-cell turnover in HIV-1 infection: evidence for an only transient interruption by treatment.

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  • 1Medizinische Kernklinik und Poliklinik, Eppendorf University Hospital, Hamburg, Germany.



To analyse the short-term kinetics of viral plasma RNA and CD4+ T cells numbers in patients with different initial CD4+ T-cell counts treated with different antiretroviral regimens.


In 10 HIV-1 positive patients, in vivo kinetics of plasma HIV RNA and CD4+ T cells were studied during antiretroviral treatment. Lymphocyte subpopulation analysis, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), p24 antigen enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and beta 2-microglobulin EIA were performed at days 0, 3, 7, 10, 14, 21 and 28 of treatment. One additional patient served as a control. The resulting curves were fitted. Half-lives were calculated using the time constant T of decrease or increase [T1/2 = In(2) x T]. Calculations of virus and CD4+ T-cell turnover were multiplied by the total blood volume.


Viral plasma RNA half-life ranged from 1.1 to 5.1 days, independent of prior or actual treatment and initial CD4+ T-cell count. The calculated peripheral blood viral plasma RNA turnover varied between 0.02 and 55.8 x 10(8) copies/ml/day and showed some negative correlation with initial CD4+ T-cell counts. CD4+ T-cell turnover estimates ranged from 0.01 to 7.5 x 10(8) cells/day. Most patients showed an immediate reincrease of virus load after the nadir. Changes in HIV p24 antigen paralleled HIV plasma RNA in p24 antigen-positive patients. beta 2-microglobulin decreased until day 7-15 in all but one case and rapidly reincreased to pretreatment values.


The kinetics of virus and CD4+ T-cell turnover are uniformly rapid throughout a wide range of initial CD4+ T-cell counts. The magnitude of virus turnover varies considerably among individuals and appears to be inversely related to the initial CD4+ T-cell count. These data also argue for a rapid resumption of virus production and lymphocyte turnover during treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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