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Human gammaherpesviruses viraemia in HIV infected patients


Background The Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) are consistently associated with lymphoproliferative diseases and cancers in humans, notably in patients with HIV.

Aims Our aim was to evaluate whether EBV and/or KSHV viral loads regularly assessed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) correlate with clinical or laboratorial parameters retrieved for patients living with HIV.

Methods This was a longitudinal study with a cohort of 157 HIV positive patients attending an academic HIV outpatient clinic in São Paulo State, Brazil. For each patient, up to four blood samples were collected over a 1 year clinical follow-up: on enrolment into the study, and after 4, 8 and 12 months. Total DNA was extracted from PBMC, and EBV and KSHV viral loads were assessed by real time quantitative PCR.

Results Higher viral loads for EBV were significantly associated with high HIV viraemia, a greater number of circulating T CD8+ cells and lack of virological response to the antiretroviral treatment. KSHV viral load was undetectable in virtually all samples.

Conclusions EBV viral load in PBMC correlated with the number of circulating T CD8+ lymphocytes and the response to the antiretroviral therapy in HIV infected patients. In contrast, KSHV was undetectable in PBMC, presumably an effect of the antiretroviral treatment. Therefore, either KSHV infection in the population studied was absent or viral load in PBMC was beyond the analytical limit of the assay.

  • EBV
  • HIV

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