Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) from mother to child correlates with viral phenotype

Virology. 1993 Dec;197(2):624-9. doi: 10.1006/viro.1993.1637.


The aim of this study was to investigate if the risk of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is influenced by the biological phenotype of the mother's virus. Virus isolates from 30 HIV-1 infected mothers and 12 infected children born to these mothers were analyzed for replication on several cell lines (Jurkat-tat, Jurkat, CEM, U937 clone 2, and MT-2). We show that mothers who harbor virus able to replicate in cell lines (rapid/high virus) have a significantly higher risk to infect their children than mothers with slow/low virus (P = 0.017). Children born to mothers with rapid/high viruses can be infected by slow/low as well as rapid/high viruses, while mothers with slow/low virus appear to transmit slow/low virus in every case. Our study shows that the biological phenotype of the mother's virus may serve as a complementary marker to CD4+ lymphocyte counts and p24 antigenemia in predicting the risk of transmission of HIV-1 to the child.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / blood
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • HIV-1 / growth & development*
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Monocytes / microbiology
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Species Specificity
  • T-Lymphocytes / microbiology
  • Time Factors
  • Virus Cultivation
  • Virus Replication


  • HIV Core Protein p24