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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2009 Jul;25(7):707-11. doi: 10.1089/aid.2008.0276.

Comparison of HIV type 1 sequences from plasma, cell-free breast milk, and cell-associated breast milk viral populations in treated and untreated women in Mozambique.

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Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


We analyzed the sequences of the HIV viral populations obtained from plasma, cell-free breast milk, and breast milk cells of HAART-treated (23) and untreated (30) HIV-infected women to obtain information about the origin of the breast milk virus. Sequence analyses of viruses were performed using the TruGene HIV-1 assay. Direct sequences of the reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease (PR) genes were analyzed using the Phylip 3.68 suite of sequence analysis program and pairwise evolutionary distances were calculated with the Kimura two parameter model for estimation of distances. We found that the genetic distances between the plasma and the cell-free breast milk viruses and between the cell-free and cell-associated breast milk viruses for RT were higher in HAART-receiving women than in untreated women, suggesting viral evolution under selective drug pressure in breast milk. Our data support the hypothesis of the presence of an actively replicating viral population in the breast milk compartment, distinct from that present in plasma.

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