Infection of Human Fetal Cardiac Myocytes by a Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1-Derived Vector

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Cardiomyopathy associated with HIV-1 infection is a well-recognized complication. However, it is unknown whether direct cardiomyocyte infection is involved in the pathogenesis of the cardiomyopathy. An HIV-1-based lentiviral vector and wild-type HIV-1 were used to infect human fetal cardiac myocytes in a primary culture. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction, viral p24 antigen determination, and immunofluorescence were used to detect the synthesis of HIV-1 DNA and proteins after the infection. High-efficiency infection occurred using the HIV-1-based lentiviral vector, although no infection occurred with the wild-type HIV-1 strain. Dual-labeling immunofluorescence for HIV-1 proteins and myosin confirmed that cardiomyocytes were infected. This in vitro analysis suggests that direct myocyte infection with wild-type HIV-1 may not be involved in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 cardiomyopathy. However, HIV-1-based vectors may prove useful for ex vivo cardiovascular gene therapy. (Circ Res. 1998;83:738-742.)

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