Is human immunodeficiency virus RNA load composed of neutralized immune complexes?

Ferdinando Dianzani, Guido Antonelli, Elisabetta Riva, Ombretta Turriziani, Laura Antonelli, Stephen Tyring, Daniel A. Carrasco, Hung Lee, Derrick Nguyen, Jingzhi Pan, Joyce Poast, Miles Cloyd, Samuel Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


During acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, both virus load (HIV RNA) and infectivity are high (103-107 RNA copies/mL or TCID50/mL) until antibody is produced, which may reduce the HIV infectivity. In HIV carriers, the HIV RNA load is elevated (103-105 copies/mL), but infectivity is low (100-102 TCID50/mL). The low infectivity in carriers could be due to neutralization by antibody in serum, resulting in immune complexes (ICs). We demonstrated that ICs in plasma, prepared with protein A beads, contained HIV RNA (80%-100%) in association with immunoglobulin G (IgG). In comparison, ICs from patients with acute HIV infection and little or no antibody contained virtually no HIV RNA. Moreover, ICs prepared by ultrafiltration contained IgG and specifically and irreversibly neutralized HIV, which indicates that the ICs contained neutralizing antibody. These findings indicate that the HIV RNA in the plasma of carriers is frequently composed of antibody-neutralized HIV as ICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1054
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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