Decreased human immunodeficiency virus type 1 plasma viremia during antiretroviral therapy reflects downregulation of viral replication in lymphoid tissue.
Although several immunologic and virologic markers measured in peripheral blood are useful for predicting accelerated progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease, their validity for evaluating the response to antiretroviral therapy and their ability to accurately reflect changes in lymphoid organs remain unclear. In the present study, changes in certain virologic markers have been analyzed in peripheral blood and lymphoid tissue during antiretroviral therapy. Sixteen HIV-infected individuals who were receiving antiretroviral therapy with zidovudine for > or = 6 months were randomly assigned either to continue on zidovudine alone or to add didanosine for 8 weeks. Lymph node biopsies were performed at baseline and after 8 weeks. Viral burden (i.e., HIV DNA copies per 10(6) mononuclear cells) and virus replication in mononuclear cells isolated from peripheral blood and lymph node and plasma viremia were determined by semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction assays. Virologic and immunologic markers remained unchanged in peripheral blood and lymph node of patients who continued on zidovudine alone. In contrast, a decrease in virus replication in lymph nodes was observed in four of six patients who added didanosine to their regimen, and this was associated with a decrease in plasma viremia. These results indicate that decreases in plasma viremia detected during antiretroviral therapy reflect downregulation of virus replication in lymphoid tissue.
Cohen, OJ; Pantaleo, G; Holodniy, M; Schnittman, S; Niu, M; Graziosi, C; Pavlakis, GN; Lalezari, J; Bartlett, JA; Steigbigel, RT
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