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AIDS. 2009 Nov 13;23(17):2277-87. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e32832d7a11.

GB virus type C infection modulates T-cell activation independently of HIV-1 viral load.

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Infectious Diseases Division, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil.



Many clinical studies have suggested a beneficial effect of GB virus type C (GBV-C) on the course of HIV-1 infection, but the mechanisms involved in such amelioration are not clear. As recent evidence has implicated cellular activation in HIV-1 pathogenesis, we investigated the effect of GBV-C viremia on T-cell activation in early HIV-1 infection.


Forty-eight recently infected HIV-1 patients (23 GBV-C viremic) were evaluated for T-cell counts, expanded immunophenotyping GBV-C RNA detection, and HIV-1 viral load. Nonparametric univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out to identify variables associated with cellular activation, including GBV-C status, HIV-1 viral load, T lymphocyte counts, and CD38 and chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 5 (CCR5) surface expression.


We not only confirmed the positive correlation between HIV-1 viral load and the percentage of T cells positive for CD38(+)CD8(+) but also observed that GBV-C viremic patients had a lower percentage of T cells positive for CD38(+)CD4(+), CD38(+)CD8(+), CCR5(+)CD4(+), and CCR5(+)CD8(+) compared with HIV-1-infected patients who were not GBV-C viremic. In regression models, GBV-C RNA(+) status was associated with a reduction in the CD38 on CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells and CCR5(+) on CD8(+) T cells, independent of the HIV-1 viral load or CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell counts. These results were also supported by the lower expression of CD69 and CD25 in GBV-C viremic patients.


The association between GBV-C replication and lower T-cell activation may be a key mechanism involved in the protection conferred by this virus against HIV-1 disease progression to immunodeficiency in HIV-1-infected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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