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J Infect Dis. 1998 Aug;178(2):397-403.

Emergence of syncytium-inducing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 variants coincides with a transient increase in viral RNA level and is an independent predictor for progression to AIDS.

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Division of Public Health and Environment, Municipal Health Service, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


To study the dynamics of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 RNA level around the time of conversion from non-syncytium-inducing (NSI) to syncytium-inducing (SI) phenotype and to study the predictive value of the SI phenotype for progression to AIDS, sequential samples from 123 HIV-infected homosexual men with documented intervals of seroconversion were evaluated. The NSI-to-SI phenotype conversion coincided with a 3-fold increase in median RNA level, which was not observed in matched controls in whom a viral phenotype conversion did not occur. This increase in virus was followed by a decrease to a higher steady-state RNA level than before the switch. After adjusting for RNA level and CD4 T cell count, SI phenotype was an independent marker for progression to AIDS. Hence, phenotype determination will contribute to optimal staging of HIV-infected persons in addition to virus load measurements and CD4 T cell count.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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