Detection of Infectious HIV in Circulating Monocytes From Patients on Prolonged Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2000 Feb 1;23(2):114-9. doi: 10.1097/00126334-200002010-00002.


The existence of a reservoir of resting CD4+ T cells harboring latent replication-competent HIV has been demonstrated in patients on prolonged highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Latently infected tissue macrophages may constitute a second HIV reservoir. The pool of these cells may be maintained by incoming infected monocytes from blood and/or by in situ viral replication. In this study, the presence of infectious HIV was investigated in highly purified monocytes from 5 patients receiving HAART with undetectable plasma viral load for up to 16 months. HIV was detected in freshly isolated monocytes and recovered following Staphylococcus aureus Cowan strain 1 (SAC) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activation. No new drug resistance-associated mutation was found in monocyte-associated HIV. These results demonstrate the long-term persistence of infectious virus in cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage in patients receiving HAART. These cells are capable of releasing infectious virus under appropriate stimulations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Genotype
  • HIV / genetics
  • HIV Infections / blood*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Monocytes / virology*
  • Viral Load
  • Virus Replication


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Culture Media
  • DNA, Viral