Detection, Isolation, and Continuous Production of Cytopathic Retroviruses (HTLV-III) from Patients with AIDS and Pre-AIDS
A cell system was developed for the reproducible detection of human T-lymphotropic retroviruses (HTLV family) from patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or with signs or symptoms that frequently precede AIDS (pre-AIDS). The cells are specific clones from a permissive human neoplastic T-cell line. Some of the clones permanently grow and continuously produce large amounts of virus after infection with cytopathic (HTLV-III) variants of these viruses. One cytopathic effect of HTLV-III in this system is the arrangement of multiple nuclei in a characteristic ring formation in giant cells of the infected T-cell population. These structures can be used as an indicator to detect HTLV-III in clinical specimens. This system opens the way to the routine detection of HTLV-III and related cytopathic variants of HTLV in patients with AIDS or pre-AIDS and in healthy carriers, and it provides large amounts of virus for detailed molecular and immunological analyses.