Changes in tonsillar tissue in early HIV-1 infection and during 3 years of antiretroviral therapy
Tonsillar tissue from individuals in the early stages of HIV-1 infection was studied during the natural course of infection and during antiretroviral therapy with and without a protease inhibitor in order to investigate markers of clinical progression and evaluate the effects of therapy.
Tonsillar biopsies and blood samples were collected at regular intervals during 3 years and clinical observations were noted. Tonsillar morphology was evaluated and the fragmentation of the follicular dendritic cell network was quantified by standardised follicular fragmentation rate (FR)
analysis. Lymphocyte subsets were phenotyped by flow cytometry, and viral load was calculated by limiting dilution assay. The FRs were higher in the HIV-1-infected individuals than in the uninfected controls, although tonsillar tissue from both groups contained follicular fragmentation. During
HIV-1 infection, the FR increased and the tonsillar CD4/CD8 ratio declined. During maximum viral suppression, FR approached that of controls while tonsillar T cell subsets and blood CD4 cell counts normalised. Even when virus suppression was incomplete, tonsillar improvements were observed
in parallel with a resolution of the HIV-1-related dermatological disorders. However, persistent viral replication paralleled distortion of the tonsillar architecture. We suggest that a normalisation of the lymphoid tissue may have important functional and clinical implications in HIV-1 infection.
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Document Type: Original Article
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Gade Institute, Centre for Research in Virology, University of Bergen, Bergen, and Departments of
Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
Publication date: July 1, 2000