Analysis of lymphocytes, monocytes, and neutrophils from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons for HIV DNA

Gregory T. Spear, Chin Yih Ou, Harold A. Kessler, Jennifer L. Moore, Gerald Schochetman, Alan L. Landay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects and depletes or alters the function of cells involvedin immune responsiveness. While both T helper lymphocytes and monocyte/macrophages can be infected via cell-surface CD4 in vitro, previous studies showed that few blood cells express HIV RNA in vivo. This study used DNA amplification to determine the levels of HIV DNA in purified lymphocytes, monocytes, and neutrophils from HIV-infected asymptomatic individuals and persons with AIDS. The average numbers of HIV DNA copies in lymphocytes from AIDS patients and asymptomatic individuals were similar (˜100–140 copies/150, OOO cells). However, when expressed on the basis of numbers of CD4+ T cells, AIDS patients’ cells contained ˜2.5 times more HIV DNA. While HIV DNA was present in lymphocytes from all 27 subjects, little or no HIV DNA was observed in monocytes or neutrophils. Only 1 asymptomatic person contained levels of HIV DNA in monocytes (125 proviral copies/150, 000 cells) that were comparable to levels expressed in lymphocytes (160/150, 000). While expression of monocyte HIV DNA in this person was persistent over at least 8 months, it was not observed in neutrophils, suggesting that monocyte HIV DNA did not originate in myeloid precursors. This study shows that in AIDS or asymptomatic HIV infection, lymphocytes are the predominant infected cell found in blood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1244
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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