Findings Could Lead to New Treatments of HIV Infection
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to identify sites of replicating HIV in the lymphatic system of people recently infected with the virus. PET scan imaging is typically used to detect tumors. The researchers believe PET scans could lead to greater understanding of HIV disease and new methods for treating the infection. Their findings are published in the September 20, 2003, edition of The Lancet.
According to the study, the PET scans recorded activation of the lymph nodes, which are involved in the body’s immune response. Activation was most notable in lymph nodes in upper torso and neck areas of the body among participants recently infected with HIV. Nodes in the lower torso were involved to a lesser extent. Participants who were infected with HIV for a longer period and remained asymptomatic with low viral loads also had lymph node activation in the neck, upper torso and pelvic areas. The researchers observed a tight correlation between the viral replication and the lymph node activity on the PET signal.
Tim Parsons | JHU
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