Human Immunodeficiency Viruses Appear Compartmentalized to the Female Genital Tract in Cross-Sectional Analyses but Genital Lineages Do Not Persist Over Time

Bull, Marta E.; Heath, Laura M.; McKernan-Mullin, Jennifer L.; Kraft, Kelli M.; Acevedo, Luis; Hitti, Jane E.; Cohn, Susan E.; Tapia, Kenneth A.; Holte, Sarah E.; Dragavon, Joan A.; Coombs, Robert W.; Mullins, James I.; Frenkel, Lisa M.
April 2013
Journal of Infectious Diseases;Apr2013, Vol. 207 Issue 8, p1206
Academic Journal
Background. Whether unique human immunodeficiency type 1 (HIV) genotypes occur in the genital tract is important for vaccine development and management of drug resistant viruses. Multiple cross-sectional studies suggest HIV is compartmentalized within the female genital tract. We hypothesize that bursts of HIV replication and/or proliferation of infected cells captured in cross-sectional analyses drive compartmentalization but over time genital-specific viral lineages do not form; rather viruses mix between genital tract and blood.Methods. Eight women with ongoing HIV replication were studied during a period of 1.5 to 4.5 years. Multiple viral sequences were derived by single-genome amplification of the HIV C2-V5 region of env from genital secretions and blood plasma. Maximum likelihood phylogenies were evaluated for compartmentalization using 4 statistical tests.Results. In cross-sectional analyses compartmentalization of genital from blood viruses was detected in three of eight women by all tests; this was associated with tissue specific clades containing multiple monotypic sequences. In longitudinal analysis, the tissues-specific clades did not persist to form viral lineages. Rather, across women, HIV lineages were comprised of both genital tract and blood sequences.Conclusions. The observation of genital-specific HIV clades only in cross-sectional analysis and an absence of genital-specific lineages in longitudinal analyses suggest a dynamic interchange of HIV variants between the female genital tract and blood.


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