Author(s): KabambaMukadi B, Henrivaux P, Ruelle J, Delferrire N, Bodus M, , KabambaMukadi B, Henrivaux P, Ruelle J, Delferrire N, Bodus M,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) proviral DNA persists in infected cells, even after prolonged successful HAART. In the present study, a relative quantification assay of HIV-1 proviral DNA by LightCycler real-time PCR based on SYBR Green I detection was developed in comparison to the number of purified CD4+ cells as estimated by the quantification of the beta-globin gene. METHODS: The ability of the designed gag primers to quantify HIV-1 Group M and the PCR efficiency were assessed on HIV-1 reference isolate subtypes A, B, C and D. The 8E5 cell line containing a single defective copy of HIV-1 proviral DNA was used as a standard for both the HIV-1 target gene and the beta-globin reference gene. The assay was applied on thirty consecutive patient samples received for RNA viral load determinations and on retrospective samples from fifteen patients undergoing 2 years of structured treatment interruption (STI). RESULTS: The lower limit of quantification was 50 HIV-1 DNA proviral copies per CD4+ cell sample. The dynamic range was from 50 to 106 HIV-1 DNA copies per CD4+ cell sample with intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variability ranging from 3.1\% to 37.1\%. The beta-globin reference gene was quantified down to a limit of 1.5 pg of DNA/microl (approximately 5 cells) with intra- and interassay coefficients of variability ranging from 1.8\% to 21\%. DNA proviral load varies widely among HIV-1 infected patients. Proviral load and plasma viral load rebound were high in STI patients who took longer to achieve an undetectable plasma viral load under therapy. A statistically significant correlation was observed between DNA proviral load and RNA steady state viral load in STI patients (p-value = 0.012). CONCLUSION: We have developed a fast, sensitive and specific relative quantification assay of HIV-1 proviral DNA in purified CD4+ cells. The assay enables the monitoring of HIV-1 proviral load, which may be useful to monitor therapy efficacy especially in patients with undetectable plasma RNA viral load, and allows the exploration of viral reservoirs.
This article was published in BMC Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research