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October 23, 1991

Gene Scene: Studies Begin to Yield Clues About Disease Progression After HIV Infection

JAMA. 1991;266(16):2186. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470160014004

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GENETIC FACTORS may influence disease progression in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), says a study from the University of California School of Public Health, Berkeley.

The recently published study (J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1991;4:814-818) is the first evidence at the DNA level that certain forms of immune molecules may render a patient protected or susceptible to the progression of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Investigators have been searching for an explanation as to why some HIV-infected patients progress rapidly to AIDS, while others remain symptom-free for many years.

Some investigators have focused on the human leukocyte antigens (HLA), the proteins that are matched for organ transplantation and that play a critical role in the cellular immune response. In the last several years, these investigators have reported that particular forms of these proteins are found more frequently among patients with advanced stages of AIDS. Others are associated