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Absence of XMRV in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of ARV-Treatment Naïve HIV-1 Infected and HIV-1/HCV Coinfected Individuals and Blood Donors
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012
Author: Cosmina Gingaras et al.

by Cosmina Gingaras, Bryan P. Danielson, Karen J. Vigil, Elana Vey, Roberto C. Arduino, Jason T. Kimata


Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) has been found in the prostatic tissue of prostate cancer patients and in the blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. However, numerous studies have found little to no trace of XMRV in different human cohorts. Based on evidence suggesting common transmission routes between XMRV and HIV-1, HIV-1 infected individuals may represent a high-risk group for XMRV infection and spread.

Methodology/Principal Findings

DNA was isolated from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of 179 HIV-1 infected treatment naïve patients, 86 of which were coinfected with HCV, and 54 healthy blood donors. DNA was screened for XMRV provirus with two sensitive, published PCR assays targeting XMRV gag and env and one sensitive, published nested PCR assay targeting env. Detection of XMRV was confirmed by DNA sequencing. One of the 179 HIV-1 infected patients tested positive for gag by non-nested PCR whereas the two other assays did not detect XMRV in any specimen. All healthy blood donors were negative for XMRV proviral sequences. Sera from 23 HIV-1 infected patients (15 HCV+) and 12 healthy donors were screened for the presence of XMRV-reactive antibodies by Western blot. Thirteen sera (57%) from HIV-1+ patients and 6 sera (50%) from healthy donors showed reactivity to XMRV-infected cell lysate.


The virtual absence of XMRV in PBMCs suggests that XMRV is not associated with HIV-1 infected or HIV-1/HCV coinfected patients, or blood donors. Although we noted isolated incidents of serum reactivity to XMRV, we are unable to verify the antibodies as XMRV specific.