Objective. To analyze the relationships among HIV-1 plasma viremia, phenotype and CD4 T cell counts in vertically infected children. Methods. Plasma viremia was quantified in 37 vertically infected children at different stages of the disease by a standardized molecular assay. Virus isolation and non-syncytia-inducing or syncytia-inducing (SI) HIV-1 phenotype evaluation were performed in parallel. Results. HIV-1 RNA genomes were found to be significantly different in CDC clinical classes N, A, B and C (P = 0.0135) and in immunologic classes 1, 2 and 3 (P = 0.0110). None of the children in Class N or A harbored H1V-1 isolates with SI phenotype, whereas SI primary isolates were detected in 2 of 7 (29%) and 7 of 10 (70%) Class B and C children, respectively. Similarly SI variants were present in only 9 of 13 children in immunologic Class 3 (70%). When stratified according to the increasing severity of virologic status, the children showed a significant difference (P = 0.0458) in viral burden. Conclusions. Clinical symptoms, the most dramatic being reduction in the number of CD4 lymphocytes, and the highest plasma viremia levels were observed in the children in whom fast replicating, highly cytopathic SI variants were isolated. These data extend the virologic characterization of vertically HIV-1-infected children and suggest that both the plasma viremia levels and phenotype of primary isolates are viral correlates of disease progression in vertically infected children.
- CD4 T cells
- human immunodeficiency virus type 1 plasma viremia
- Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 vertical infection
- isolation and phenotype
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Microbiology (medical)