Establishment and Replenishment of the Viral Reservoir in Perinatally HIV-1-infected Children Initiating Very Early Antiretroviral Therapy

Marta Martínez-Bonet, Maria Carmen Puertas, Claudia Fortuny, Dan Ouchi, Maria José Mellado, Pablo Rojo, Antoni Noguera-Julian, Ma Angeles Muñoz-Fernández, Javier Martinez-Picado

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    © 2015 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Background.Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) generally suppresses the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) but does not cure the infection, because proviruses persist in stable latent reservoirs. It has been proposed that low-level proviral reservoirs might predict longer virologic control after discontinuation of treatment. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of very early initiation of cART and temporary treatment interruption on the size of the latent HIV-1 reservoir in vertically infected children. Methods.This retrospective study included 23 perinatally HIV-1-infected children who initiated very early treatment within 12 weeks after birth (n = 14), or early treatment between week 12 and 1 year (n = 9). We measured the proviral reservoir (CD4+ T-cell-associated HIV-1 DNA) in blood samples collected beyond the first year of sustained virologic suppression. Results.There is a strong positive correlation between the time to initiation of cART and the size of the proviral reservoir. Children who initiated cART within the first 12 weeks of life showed a proviral reservoir 6-fold smaller than children initiating cART beyond this time (P <. 01). Rapid virologic control after initiation of cART also limits the size of the viral reservoir. However, patients who underwent transient treatment interruptions showed a dramatic increase in the size of the viral reservoir after discontinuation. Conclusions.Initiation of cART during the first 12 weeks of life in perinatally HIV-1-infected children limits the size of the viral reservoir. Treatment interruptions should be undertaken with caution, as they might lead to fast and irreversible replenishment of the viral reservoir.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1169-1178
    JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


    • HIV-1
    • early antiretroviral therapy
    • vertical infection
    • viral reservoir


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