Early establishment of a pool of latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells during primary HIV-1 infection

Early establishment of a pool of latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells during primary HIV-1 infection
Tae-Wook Chun,*† Delphine Engel,* M. Michelle Berrey,‡ Theresa Shea,‡ Lawrence Corey,‡ and Anthony S. Fauci*
 
*Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892; and ‡Departments of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington and Program in Infectious Diseases, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98104
 
†To whom reprint requests should be addressed at: Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 6A32, Bethesda, MD 20892. e-mail: twchun@nih.gov.
 
Abstract
The presence of latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells carrying replication-competent HIV-1 has been demonstrated in chronically infected individuals who are antiretroviral therapy naive as well as in those who are receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). It is not clear, however, whether the establishment of a pool of latently infected CD4+ T cells can be blocked by early initiation of HAART after primary infection. The present study demonstrates that initiation of HAART in infected individuals as early as 10 days after the onset of symptoms of primary HIV-1 infection did not prevent generation of latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells carrying integrated HIV-1 DNA as well as infectious HIV-1 despite the successful control of plasma viremia shortly after institution of HAART. Furthermore, there was no correlation between either the duration of HAART at the time of study (range: 0.2–17 months) or the time of initiation of HAART after the onset of symptoms of primary HIV-1 infection (range: 0.3–4 months) and the frequencies of resting CD4+ T cells carrying either integrated HIV-1 DNA or infectious virus. These results underscore the rapidity with which latent reservoirs are established in primary HIV-1 infection and indicate that it is unlikely that early treatment during primary infection can prevent establishment of a pool of latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells as long as treatment is initiated after plasma viremia becomes evident.
 

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