Background. HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) is usually diagnosed in virologically uncontrolled infected patients. However, HIVAN can occur in some cases with undetectable HIV-1 RNA levels. We suggested that intracellular HIV-1 proviral DNA load can be used as a marker in this particular patient population.Methods. Renal tissue HIV-1 proviral DNA, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) HIV-1 proviral DNA, plasma HIV-1 RNA and peripheral blood CD4-positive lymphocyte counts were quantified and assessed in 100 HIV-1-infected individuals (49 with undetectable HIV-1 RNA level viraemia) who underwent a kidney biopsy for renal abnormalities in a prospective study.Results. A proviral DNA load was detected in patients with HIV-1-associated nephropathy with a negative plasma viral RNA load. None of the patients with a proviral DNA load of <10 copies/1.5 × 105 PBMCs had HIVAN. In renal tissue, proviral DNA load was detected in all patients with HIVAN.Conclusions. PBMC HIV-1 proviral DNA load is potentially the optimal clinical marker to exclude the diagnosis of HIVAN. On the other hand, cellular incorporation of HIV-1 within the kidney is a requisite for the development of this disorder.
- HIV DNA level
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