Immune impairment thresholds in HIV infection

Shingo Iwami, Shinji Nakaoka, Yasuhiro Takeuchi, Yoshiharu Miura, Tomoyuki Miura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Longitudinal studies of patients infected with HIV-1 reveal a long and variable length of asymptomatic phase between infection and development of AIDS. Some HIV infected patients are still asymptomatic after 15 or more years of infection but some patients develop AIDS within 2 years. The mechanistic basis of the disease progression has remained obscure but many researchers have been trying to explain it. For example, the possible importance of viral diversity for the disease progression and the development of AIDS has been very well worked out in the early-1990s, especially by some important works of Martin A. Nowak. These studies can give an elegant explanation for a variability of asymptomatic phase. Here, a simple mathematical model was used to propose a new explanation for a variable length of asymptomatic phase. The main idea is that the immune impairment rate increases over the HIV infection. Our model suggested the existence of so-called "Risky threshold" and "Immunodeficiency threshold" on the impairment rate. The former implies that immune system may collapse when the impairment rate of HIV exceeds the threshold value. The latter implies that immune system always collapses when the impairment rate exceeds the value. We found that the length of asymptomatic phase is determined stochastically between these threshold values depending on the virological and immunological states. Furthermore, we investigated a distribution of the length of asymptomatic phase and a survival rate of the immune responses in one HIV patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 27 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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