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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Sep 26;97(20):10966-71.

Influence of follicular dendritic cells on decay of HIV during antiretroviral therapy.

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Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA.


Drug treatment of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection leads to a rapid initial decay of plasma virus followed by a slower second phase of decay. To investigate the role of HIV-1 retained on follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) in this process, we have developed and analyzed a mathematical model for HIV-1 dynamics in lymphoid tissue (LT) that includes FDCs. Analysis of clinical data using this model indicates that decay of HIV-1 during therapy may be influenced by release of FDC-associated virus. The biphasic character of viral decay can be explained by reversible multivalent binding of HIV-1 to receptors on FDCs, indicating that the second phase of decay is not necessarily caused by long-lived or latently infected cells. Furthermore, viral clearance and death of short-lived productively infected cells may be faster than previously estimated. The model, with reasonable parameter values, is consistent with kinetic measurements of viral RNA in plasma, viral RNA on FDCs, productively infected cells in LT, and CD4(+) T cells in LT during therapy.

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