Killing of primary CD4+ T cells by non-syncytium-inducing macrophage- tropic human immunodeficiency virus type 1

X. Yu, M. F. McLane, L. Ratner, W. O'Brien, R. Collman, M. Essex, T. H. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the mechanism by which human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) kills CD4+ T lymphocytes is important to the development of therapeutic and prophylactic strategies. Recent studies have indicated that, in some cases, progression to AIDS is associated with the appearance of syncytium-inducing, T cell line-tropic HIV-1 variants. Nevertheless, approximately 50% of subjects with AIDS harbor only non-syncytium-inducing, macrophage-tropic (NS1-M) variants of HIV-1. In most asymptomatic patients, NS1-M HIV-1 isolates are the predominant virus type found. We report here that cytopathicity of NSI-M HIV-1 for primary CD4+ T lymphocytes can be directly detected in vitro. The extent of CD4+ T-cell killing was not completely correlated with the rate of viral replication, suggesting that other characteristics of HIV-1 contribute to its cytopathicity. Our findings suggest that: (i) direct killing by NSI-M HIV-1 may contribute to CD4+ T- lymphocyte depletion in vivo, and (ii) the determinants of HIV-1 cytopathicity for CD4+ T lymphocytes and cell tropism or syncytia-forming ability are not necessarily tightly linked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10237-10241
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1994


  • AIDS
  • CD4 T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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