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Ann Intern Med. 1995 Nov 1;123(9):641-8.

HIV-1 messenger RNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells as an early marker of risk for progression to AIDS.

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Rockefeller University, New York, New York, USA.



To establish human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells as a marker of risk for progression to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in a large cohort of HIV-infected persons followed for a prolonged period.


Retrospective testing of cryopreserved, coded specimens.


Research laboratories at the New York Blood Center and the Rockefeller University.


150 homosexual men infected with HIV-1 who did not have an AIDS diagnosis at the time of testing.


Multiply spliced and unspliced HIV-1 mRNAs in total peripheral blood mononuclear cell RNA were quantitated using reverse transcriptase-initiated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and compared with other laboratory data and clinical outcome during the subsequent 8 years.


Although HIV-1 mRNA expression generally correlated with immunologic status, it was associated with future disease progression independently of CD4+ cell counts or their rate of decrease at the time of sampling. The association of HIV-1 mRNA with disease progression in persons with CD4+ cell counts higher than the median (> 624 cells/mm3) was particularly noteworthy; further variation in the CD4+ cell counts within this group was not prognostically significant.


The expression of HIV-1 mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells is a strong independent marker for future HIV disease progression, even in persons with normal T-cell subsets.

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