Massive covert infection of helper T lymphocytes and macrophages by HIV during the incubation period of AIDS

Janet Embretson, Mary Zupancic, Jorge L. Ribas, Alien Burke, Paul Racz, Klara Tenner-Racz, Ashley T. Haase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1209 Scopus citations

Abstract

ANIMAL and human lentiviruses elude host defences by establishing covert infections and eventually cause disease through cumulative losses of cells that die with activation of viral gene expression1-5. We used polymerase chain reaction in situ double-label methods6,7 to determine how many CD4+ lymphocytes are latently infected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in patient lymph nodes and whether the pool of infected cells is large enough to account for immune depletion through continual activation of viral gene expression and attrition of cells responding to antigens. We discovered an extraordinarily large number of latently infected CD4+ lymphocytes and macrophages throughout the lymphoid system from early to late stages of infection, and confirmed8-14 the extracellular association of HIV with follicular dendritic cells. Follicular dendritic cells may transmit infection to cells as they migrate through lymphoid follicles. Latently infected lymphocytes and macrophages constitute an intracellular reservoir large enough ultimately to contribute to much of the immune depletion in AIDS, and represent a difficult problem that must be resolved in developing effective treatments and protective vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-362
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume362
Issue number6418
DOIs
StatePublished - 1993

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Massive covert infection of helper T lymphocytes and macrophages by HIV during the incubation period of AIDS'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this