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Ranki Annamari; Jarvinen, Kaija; Valle, Sirkka-Liisa; Nurmilaakso, Paivi; Krohn, Kai
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: April 1990
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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.

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