Being Alive 1994 Feb 5: 1
A recent report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (November 1993)
points out the importance of HIV in cells other than the CD4 cells. We
know that cells called Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs)
harbor HIV. These include macrophages and monocytes. Unlike CD4, the
depletion of these cells does not result in immunosuppression.
Nonetheless, the presence of HIV in the PBMCs does add to the overall
Researchers in Paris looked at the rate of CD4 decline over a two year
period among a group of HIV+ patients. Those whose CD4 count declined
by over 60% were the rapid decliners. And this was the group with the
highest level of virus in their PBMCs.
This study tells us something we already know: increased viral burden
is associated with more rapid disease progression. This study alerts
us, however, to the fact that the virus is not just in CD4, but in
other cells as well. And any antiviral, to be really effective, has to
target HIV in more than just the CD4 cells.