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AIDS. 1987 Dec;1(4):235-40.

Decline of anti-p24 antibody precedes antigenaemia as correlate of prognosis in HIV-1 infection.

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St Mary's Hospital Medical, London, UK.


A cohort of 84 homosexual men presenting with persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (PGL) was studied between March 1982 and March 1987. A progression rate to AIDS of 5% per year was seen in those who were infected with HIV. Certain clinical features and routine laboratory investigations were significantly associated with an increased risk of disease progression, but had only limited predictive value. Two hundred and fifty-two serial sera from 57 patients were analysed for the p24 antigen (Abbott), the principal core protein of HIV and antibody against p24 by direct enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Patients who remained well retained a high titre of anti-p24 antibody compared with those who progressed to AIDS-related complex (ARC) or AIDS. HIV antigen was detectable in 40% of AIDS patients 2 years before diagnosis, but antigenaemia was preceded by loss of anti-p24 antibody by up to 18 months and preceded AIDS by up to 40 months. ARC patients tended to be negative when tested for both alpha-p24 antibody and antigen, suggesting a transitional state. Analysis of the humoral response against gag proteins appears to correlate closely with clinical status and may be an earlier and more consistent way of predicting disease progression than p24 antigenaemia, or clinical and routine laboratory investigations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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