Apoptosis as a mechanism of cell death in cultured T lymphoblasts acutely infected with HIV-1

J Clin Invest. 1991 May;87(5):1710-5. doi: 10.1172/JCI115188.


The mechanisms by which HIV-1 infection kills T lymphocytes are not clearly established. Apoptosis is an internally programmed cell death pathway that may regulate both T cell development and senescence, and that is characterized by cleavage of DNA at internucleosomal regions. The present experiments show that acute HIV-1 infection of MT2 lymphoblasts and activated normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells induces apoptosis. The addition of anti-gp120 neutralizing antibody, after HIV-1 infection of MT2 cells, permitted sustained high levels of viral replication, but blocked apoptosis and cell death. Apoptosis may account for the direct cytopathologic effects of HIV-1 in T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • CD4 Antigens / physiology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Survival*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA / metabolism
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / metabolism
  • HIV Infections / pathology
  • HIV-1* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / microbiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology*


  • CD4 Antigens
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • Nucleosomes
  • DNA
  • Calcium