Selective thymocyte depletion in neonatal HIV-1 thymic infection

Michael Rosenzweig, Douglas P. Clark, Glen N. Gaulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the impact of HIV-1 infection on thymocyte development, and the role of thymic infection on the pathogenesis of neonatal HIV-1 infection. Design and methods: The consequences of thymic infection by HIV-1 were examined by comparative histologic and molecular analyses of an asymptomatic, HIV-1-seropositive 3-day-old subject, versus age- and treatment-matched controls. The presence of replicating virus was established by in situ hybridization with specific molecular probes to HIV-1. The distribution of thymocyte subsets was determined by quantitative flow cytometry following staining with antibodies to CD4 and CD8 cell surface proteins. Results: The results show clear evidence of severe thymic involution, HIV-1 infection of thymocytes, and selective depletion of thymocyte subpopulations. The consequences of HIV-1 infection were a marked depletion of CD3+CD4+ CD8hi and CD3+CD4+CD8- cells. The phenotype of the residual thymic lymphoid population was predominantly that of immature CD3-CD4-CD8- double negative and CD3+CD4+CD8lo cells. Conclusion: Changes in the distribution of thymocyte subsets suggests a role for thymic involvement in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection in neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1601-1605
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Development
  • HIV-1
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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