Ranki Annamari; Jarvinen, Kaija; Valle, Sirkka-Liisa; Nurmilaakso, Paivi; Krohn, KaiJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: April 1990 Editorial: PDF Only Free Abstract Antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) regulatory gene nef (negative factor) product are claimed to be characteristic of early and latent HIV infection. We looked for anti-nef antibodies in individuals infected with HIV or at risk for HIV, in blood donors, and in patients with diverse dermatological disorders. In HIV-infected patients, antibodies to recombinant nef protein were seen by Western blot assay in 29 of 54 (54%) individuals at any time during a prospective follow-up. Except for a decline in the level prior to ARC and AIDS, the occurrence of antibodies did not significantly correlate with any pattern of disease progression in 22 patients followed for up to 4 years. Among the 141 HIV risk group members, negative in recombinant HIV ELISA tests, anti-nef antibodies were detected in 7 (5%) individuals. However, an anti-nef antibody response was also seen in 5 of 93 (5%) nonrisk dermatological patients and in 4 of 37 (11%) healthy blood donors. Solitary HIV gag protein antibody responses were most frequent (7%) in the group of individuals at risk for HIV but the majority of anti-nef positive sera did not react with HIV gag proteins. The relatively frequent occurrence of indistin-guishable anti-nef antibody responses in nonrisk individuals suggests that immunological cross-reaction between nef and some cellular regulatory protein may occur. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.