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J Paediatr Child Health. 1992 Aug;28(4):331-3.

Failure of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation to benefit HIV infection.

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Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Prince of Wales Children's Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.


A 16 year old boy underwent allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) from an human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical sibling for severe aplastic anaemia. He was symptomatic for 7 years before transplantation and had received multiple red blood cell and platelet transfusions. Conditioning for BMT consisted of cyclophosphamide, antilymphocyte globulin and total lymphoid irradiation. Engraftment was rapid, there was no evidence of rejection despite the history of multiple blood product transfusions and he did not develop acute or chronic graft versus host disease. He was well for the first 8 months after transplantation but then developed fevers, interstitial pneumonia, herpes simplex infections and cytomegalovirus enteritis. Serological studies revealed antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and he was considered to have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Retrospective analysis of the serum samples showed that he was seronegative for HIV until approximately 10 months before transplantation when his serum became HIV positive. Lymphocyte function studies done after transplantation suggested immunologic recovery at 3 months post-transplant with a brisk though subnormal response to phytohaemagglutinin stimulation. T cell subset analysis performed subsequently showed complete absence of CD4 positive cells indicating immune incompetence which was associated with clinical features of AIDS. Bone marrow transplantation had failed to produce sustained immunologic reconstitution and prevent the progression of HIV to which he ultimately succumbed.

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