Mullins Molecular Retrovirology Lab

  • Department of Microbiology
  • School of Medicine
  • University of Washington
University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research

Citation Information

Panther LA, Tucker L, Xu C, Tuomala RE, Mullins JI, Anderson DJ (2000). Genital tract human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) shedding and inflammation and HIV-1 env diversity in perinatal HIV-1 transmission. The Journal of infectious diseases, 181(2), 555-63. (pubmed)


This study sought to identify genital tract characteristics associated with vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). HIV-1 DNA and RNA, HIV-1 env diversity, and inflammatory cells were quantified in cervicovaginal lavages (CVLs) of 24 women enrolled in the Women and Infants Transmission Study; 7 women transmitted HIV-1 perinatally. Vaginal candidiasis, HIV-1 culture positivity, levels of HIV-1 DNA and cell-free RNA, and HIV-1 env diversity were significantly higher in the CVLs of transmitters. CVL HIV-1 DNA levels correlated with higher levels of inflammatory cells and cell-free HIV-1 RNA. Of subjects with paired blood and CVL specimens, there was more HIV-1 env heterogeneity between blood and CVLs in transmitters than in nontransmitters. In summary, increased HIV-1 shedding is correlated with a more complex population of HIV-1 quasispecies in the genital tracts of parturient women, which may increase the probability that a fetotropic strain is transmitted.