Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 modulates telomerase activity in peripheral blood lymphocytes

G. Ballon, L. Ometto, E. Righetti, A. M. Cattelan, S. Masiero, M. Zanchetta, L. Chieco-Bianchi, A. De Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) on telomerase activity in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) was examined. Telomerase is an enzyme that is involved in mechanisms that control cell life span and replicative potential. HIV-1 reduced telomerase activity in in vitro-infected PBL and impaired enzyme activation upon cell stimulation. Telomerase activity was significantly lower in PBL from 23 HIV-1-infected patients than in PBL from healthy donors and significantly increased during highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 10 patients who had both a virological and an immunological response and in 5 and 8 patients with a virological or an immunological response, respectively. Further analyses of fractionated cells revealed that telomerase activity increased mainly in CD4+ lymphocytes. Overall, these findings demonstrate that HIV-1 infection down-modulates telomerase activity and suggest that both the HIV-1 decline and immunorestoration in response to HAART contribute to increased telomerase activity in CD4+ lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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