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Virology. 2011 Jan 5;409(1):46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2010.08.024.

Patients on HAART often have an excess of unintegrated HIV DNA: implications for monitoring reservoirs.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


HIV establishes a latent reservoir early in infection that is resistant to anti-retroviral therapy and has a slow rate of decay. It is thought that the majority of HIV DNA in treated patients is integrated since unintegrated HIV DNA appears to be unstable. Thus, to monitor the HIV latent reservoir, total HIV DNA is commonly measured in PBMC from infected individuals. We investigated how often total approaches integrated HIV DNA in treated patients. To do this, we first assessed how accurate our integration assay is and determined the error in our measurements of total and integrated HIV DNA. We demonstrated an excess of total over integrated HIV DNA was present in a subset of patients, suggesting that measurements of total HIV DNA do not always correlate to the level of integration. Determining the cause of this excess and its frequency may have important implications for understanding HIV latent reservoir maintenance.

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