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Analysis of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and protease sequences in paired plasma and lymphoid tissue specimens from HIV-1 infected individuals

Erice, Alejoa,b,*; Li, Wuyia; Balfour, Hank H. Jra; Boies, Lawrence R. Jrc; Melroe, Hollyd; Henry, Keithd

Basic Science

Objectives: To determine how representative the genotype of HIV-1 circulating in plasma is of the genotype of the virus present in lymphoid tissue.

Methods: Paired plasma and tonsillar tissue samples were prospectively obtained from patients with various levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA who were receiving combination antiretroviral therapy. HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and protease sequences were amplified from plasma and lymphoid tissue specimens by nested polymerase chain reaction and analyzed using an automated sequencing system. Results were compared with consensus HIV-1 sequences to determine whether drug-resistance mutations were present in the regions analyzed.

Results: HIV-1 protease sequences were compared in 11 plasma/tissue pairs obtained from eight patients; HIV reverse transcriptase sequences were compared in 12 plasma/tissue pairs obtained from nine patients. Sequence homology between plasma and tissue RNA, tissue RNA and DNA, and plasma and tissue DNA ranged from 97% to 100%. Few discrepancies were found when the percentage of mutant sequences at resistance codons was compared among paired samples. In most instances, tissue RNA or plasma contained a higher percentage of mutant sequences than did tissue DNA.

Conclusion: The genotype of plasma HIV-1 is similar to the genotype of the virus in lymphoid tissue. Resistance studies using plasma samples should provide accurate information regarding the genotype of HIV-1 in lymphoid tissues.

From the Departments of aLaboratory Medicine & Pathology and bMedicine, Infectious Disease Division, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, the cDepartment of Otolaringology/Head and Neck Surgery and the dHIV Program, Regions Hospital, St Paul, Minnesota, USA. *Current address: Hospital ASEPEYO, Coslada, Madrid, Spain.

Requests for reprints to Dr A. Erice, Box 437 Mayo, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.

Date of receipt: 29 February 2000;

revised: 5 October 2000; accepted: 1 February 2001.

Sponsorship: This work was supported by Health Partners Research Foundation, NIH (AI-27761), and the Virology Advanced Technology Laboratory subcontract of AI-27761.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.