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study information

date of publication1-feb-1999
journalBlood 1999 Feb 1;93(3):1011-9
titleNormal T-cell telomerase activity and upregulation in human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection.
title in Dutch
resp. centreCLB
designIn human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 infection, decrease of telomere length is mainly found in CD8(+) T cells and not in CD4(+) T cells. Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme that can synthesize telomeric sequence onto chromosomal ends, can compensate for telomere loss. Here, we investigated if telomerase activity could explain differential telomere loss of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in HIV-1 infection. Telomerase activity was higher in CD8(+) than in CD4(+) T cells from HIV-infected patients, but still in the same range as in healthy controls, and upregulation after stimulation was comparable to normal. Telomerase activity in lymph node CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from HIV-infected patients was in the same range as that in CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from peripheral blood (PB) and was normal in unseparated bone marrow cells. Thus, our study did not provide evidence for compartmentalized elongation of telomeres in HIV infection. In patients treated with reverse transcriptase inhibitors, telomerase activity was inhibited, but this did not lead to accelerated loss of telomere length in vivo. Thus, differential telomere loss in CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in HIV-1 infection cannot be explained by telomerase activity.

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