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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2003 Jan-Feb;50(1):43-8.

Trichomonas vaginalis: in vitro attachment and internalization of HIV-1 and HIV-1-infected lymphocytes.

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Department of Experimental Pathology, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Av. I. P. N. 2508, Zacatenco, 07360 Mexico City, Mexico.


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) caused by bacteria and protozoa play an important role in the epidemiology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection. Human trichomoniasis, produced by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, is one of the most common STDs, and is a cause of mucosal lesions in the urogenital tract, which may increase the risk for HIV infection. However, there are no reports concerning the outcome of in vitro interactions between HIV particles and trichomonads. Therefore, we incubated T. vaginalis with three subtypes of HIV-1 (A, B, and D), as well as with HIV-1-infected lymphocytes, and analyzed the interactions with immunofluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Our results demonstrated that HIV-1 particles attach and are incorporated into T. vaginalis through endocytic vesicles and are degraded within cytoplasmic vacuoles in approximately 48 h. There was no ultrastructural evidence of HIV-1 replication in trichomonads. These results demonstrated that trichomonads may internalize and harbor HIV-1 particles for short periods of time. In addition, under in vitro conditions, T. vaginalis ingests and digests HIV-1-infected lymphocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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