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J Infect Dis. 1993 Mar;167(3):526-32.

A mutation in human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase and decline in CD4 lymphocyte numbers in long-term zidovudine recipients.

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AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, Stanford University Medical Center, California 94305.


A nested polymerase chain reaction assay was used to define the sequence of a specific codon, amino acid 215, of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pol gene in DNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and viral RNA from serum from 38 patients treated with zidovudine for > or = 2 years. After treatment for a mean of 34 months, 17 patients with sequences with a codon 215 mutation had a mean 50% decrease in CD4 cells, compared with 21 patients with sequences wild-type at codon 215, who had a mean 11% increase in CD4 cells (P < .0001). Patients with a mutation at 215 had a ninefold higher provirus burden in PBMC. Detection of the codon 215 mutation in plasma viral RNA preceded detection of the mutation in DNA from PBMC and decline in CD4 cells. The appearance of a mutation at codon 215 in the HIV reverse transcriptase gene in patients receiving zidovudine may be a marker for impending immunologic decline.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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