Influence of follicular dendritic cells on decay of HIV during antiretroviral therapy

William S. Hlavacek, Nikolaos I. Stilianakis, Daan W. Notermans, Sven A. Danner, Alan S. Perelson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Drug treatment of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection leads to a rapid initial decay of plasma virus followed by a slower second phase of decay. To investigate the role of HIV-1 retained on follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) in this process, we have developed and analyzed a mathematical model for HIV-1 dynamics in lymphoid tissue (LT) that includes FDCs. Analysis of clinical data using this model indicates that decay of HIV-1 during therapy may be influenced by release of FDC-associated virus. The biphasic character of viral decay can be explained by reversible multivalent binding of HIV-1 to receptors on FDCs, indicating that the second phase of decay is not necessarily caused by long-lived or latently infected cells. Furthermore, viral clearance and death of short-lived productively infected cells may be faster than previously estimated. The model, with reasonable parameter values, is consistent with kinetic measurements of viral RNA in plasma, viral RNA on FDCs, productively infected cells in LT, and CD4+ T cells in LT during therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10966-10971
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2000

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