1887

Abstract

Within human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients, there are those who have been infected for more than 10 years with a CD4 cell count of >500 cells μl and who remain asymptomatic without antiretroviral therapy; these patients are designated long-term non-progressors (LTNPs). In a set of 16 LTNPs, viral dating, DNA viral load, quasispecies heterogeneity and antibody (Ab) titres against gp160 and microglobulin ( m) were determined. Plasma viral RNA and CD4 and CD8 T-cell numbers were estimated in more than three samples per patient. Host genetic characteristics, such as Δ32- genotype and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotype and supertypes, and clinical–epidemiological factors were evaluated. Dating of global populations and of DNA and RNA viral quasispecies identified two subsets of patients: one displaying only ancestral sequences and the other displaying predominantly modern sequences. The ancestral patients displayed a significant reduction in RNA and DNA viral loads, quasispecies heterogeneity, CD8 cell number, anti-gp160 Ab titres and m level, and they were also associated with better use of safe-sex practices and higher presence of the HLA sB58 supertype than the modern subset. Viral dating has therefore permitted the segregation of LTNPs into two subsets that show very different virological, immunological, host and clinical–epidemiological characteristics. Moreover, whereas the modern subset displayed low levels of virus replication, the ancestral group displayed not only a very limited virus replication, often to undetectable levels, but also very slow or arrested viral evolution, maintaining the close relationship of the viral population to the transmitted virus.

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2005-02-01
2019-11-18
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