CLINICAL SCIENCE: PDF OnlySerum Retinol and HIV-1 RNA Viral Load in Rapid and Slow ProgressorsCamp, William L.*; Allen, Susan*; Alvarez, José O.*; Jolly, Pauline E.*; Weiss, Heidi L.*; Phillips, Jack F.†; Karita, Etienne‡; Serufilira, Antoine§; Vermund, Sten H.*Author Information *Schools of Public Health and Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; †Abbott Laboratories, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.; ‡National AIDS Control Program, Ministry of Health, Rwanda; §World Health Organization, Kigali, Rwanda Address correspondence and reprint requests to Sten H. Vermund, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health (TH 203), Birmingham, AL, 35294-0008, U.S.A.; email: [email protected]. Manuscript received July 7, 1997; accepted November 6, 1997. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes & Human Retrovirology: May 1, 1998 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 - p 21-26 Free Abstract Few studies have addressed the relation between serum vitamin A level and HIV disease progression. Thirty HIV-infected women in Rwanda were studied over a time span of 26 to 99 months. Fourteen subjects seroconverted and died of HIV-related disease at a mean of 44 months (range, 26-69 months) after their first HIV-positive test and were termed “rapid progressors,” (RPs). A comparison group of 16 “slow progressors” (SPs) were HIV-positive at the time of their first HIV serology and had asymptomatic HIV infections at a mean of 96 months (range, 93-99 months) after their first HIV serology. Baseline mean serum retinol values were the same in RPs and SPs: 0.65 + 0.08 mmol/L versus 0.67 + 0.09 μmol/L (p = .7). Lower serum retinol levels were observed in RPs compared with SPs for the second and third measurements, obtained at a median of 12 and 24 months past baseline: 0.51 + 0.07 mmol/L versus 0.76 + 0.14 mmol/L (p = .3) and 0.44 + 0.09 mmol/L versus 0.64 + 0.08 mmol/L (p = .08), respectively. Median retinol levels for the third sample measurement were similar in RPs with lower viral load (LVL) and SPs (0.49 mmol/L and 0.52 mmol/L, respectively) compared with only 0.19 mmol/L in RPs with higher viral load (HVL; p = .02). A trend toward decreasing serum retinol levels and increasing HIV-1 RNA viral load was observed at the third sample measurement (p = .04). Subjects with LVL, higher serum retinol levels (≥0.70 mmol/L), or both had more favorable rates of survival than subjects with HVL, low serum retinol levels (<0.70 mmol/L), or both. Although sample size does not permit definitive conclusions, this study demonstrates an association of high HIV load, rapid progression, and low serum retinol late but not early in disease progression. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.