Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15593418
Arch. Virol. 2004 Sep;149(9):1761-71
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) viral set point has been associated with the rate of, disease progression and with the level of HIV-specific immune response. The analysis of the possible association between viral set point and quasispecies heterogeneity has important consequences in the understanding of HIV-1 in vivo evolution. In this study, we analyzed the association between intrapatient viral diversity and RNA viral load in 16 antiretroviral therapy-naive HIV-1-infected patients at a single time point, during the disease free period. Patients were separated into low and high viral load groups according to plasma RNA values. HIV-1 quasispecies complexity was assessed in the C2-V5 env region. The average intrapatient quasispecies heterogeneity in both groups was not significantly different (t-test, P > 0.05). However, while within the low viral load group both synonymous and non-synonymous mutations contribute to the variation observed, in the heterogeneity observed in the high viral load group there was an increase in the contribution of the non-synonymous mutations. Thus, this study show that although intrapatient quasispecies heterogeneity is not associated with viral set point in HIV-1 infection, some differences exist between the two groups in the pattern of mutation accumulation.