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Ann Intern Med. 1985 Jul;103(1):61-3.

Cytomegalovirus infection and abnormal T-lymphocyte subset ratios in homosexual men.


T-helper:T-suppressor cell ratios of 1 or less were found in 2 of 42 homosexual men without antibodies to cytomegalovirus but in 33 of 67 homosexual men with antibodies (p less than 0.001). Of 34 men without antibody who were followed prospectively, 12 became seropositive for cytomegalovirus and all 12 developed helper: suppressor ratios of less than 1.0. These ratios remained at 1 or less for an average of 9.6 months but persisted for 15 months or more in 3 men. None of the men in the prospective study developed antibodies to the acquired-immunodeficiency-syndrome-associated retrovirus. These results indicate that in the homosexual men studied, abnormally low T-lymphocyte helper: suppressor ratios occurred almost exclusively in those who were infected with cytomegalovirus, and in those prospectively followed low ratios did not reflect contact with the syndrome-associated retrovirus. Abnormal ratios were rarely seen in men who had never been exposed to cytomegalovirus. Thus, cytomegalovirus infection may be an important cofactor in the immunologic disorders leading to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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