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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1997 Nov 1;13(16):1383-94.

Course of specific T lymphocyte cytotoxicity, plasma and cellular viral loads, and neutralizing antibody titers in 17 recently seroconverted HIV type 1-infected patients.

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INSERM U328, Structure et Fonctions des Retrovirus Humains, Laboratoire de Virologie de l'Université Victor Ségalen Bordeaux 2, France.


Relationships were sought between specific anti-HIV cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses (against structural and regulatory proteins of the HIV-1 LAI isolate) and plasma and cellular viral loads (VLs) in 17 recently HIV-1-infected patients including 3 displaying asymptomatic primary infection (PI) followed up for 12 months. Plasma VL was correlated directly with CD8 counts and inversely with CD4 counts. Cytotoxic reactions were observed in all patients and directed mainly against structural proteins. The earliest CTL responses were against Gag and Env proteins detected in 87 and 75% of the subjects, respectively, within the first month following PI. Anti-Env and Gag cytotoxic responses were inversely correlated with the plasma VL. Reactions against the pol gene products were thought to be either less involved in or less efficient for the initial decrease of viremia. Responses against regulatory gene products were weak and variable, apart from Nef, which was recognized by half of the subjects. Neutralizing antibodies were not detected before month 3, and were found only in six patients at subsequent times. Two of three patients with asymptomatic PI had a low viral burden and either a delayed response or one limited to a few protein CTL responses, suggesting that the magnitude of the CTL response depends on the initial plasma VL. The third patient displayed viral and CTL parameters identical to those of the patients with symptomatic PI. However, two subjects with symptomatic PI exhibited similarly low plasma VL and moderate CTL responses. Overall, the results suggest that the CTL response may not be the sole factor controlling viremia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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