T Cell Telomere Length in HIV-1 Infection: No Evidence for Increased CD4+ T Cell Turnover

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Science  29 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5292, pp. 1543-1547
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5292.1543


Progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been related to exhaustion of the regenerative capacity of the immune system resulting from high T cell turnover. Analysis of telomeric terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length, a marker for cellular replicative history, showed that CD8+ T cell TRF length decreased but CD4+ T cell TRF length was stable during the course of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection, which was not explained by differential telomerase activity. This observation provides evidence that turnover in the course of HIV-1 infection can be increased considerably in CD8+ T cells, but not in CD4+ T cells. These results are compatible with CD4+ T cell decline in HIV-1 infection caused by interference with cell renewal.

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