The Role of the Envelope Glycoprotein in the Depletion of T Helper Cells in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Christian JASSOY, Martin HEINKELEIN, Sieghart SOPPER

Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, Julius-Maximilians University, Würzburg, Germany


Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes gradual depletion of CD4+ T helper lymphocytes and destruction of the lymphoid tissue, which ultimately leads to a fatal defect of the cellular immune system. Paramount to the understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV infection is to elucidate the mechanism which underlies the loss of T helper cells. Various ideas have been proposed in order to explain this issue. Several hypotheses have focused on the role of the envelope glycoprotein in this process. This review summarizes the data obtained and concepts proposed regarding the involvement of the HIV glycoprotein in the pathology of CD4+ T cell depletion. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 3, Nr 1, 62-67, 1997

Key words: HIV; AIDS; envelope; T helper lymphocyte; pathogenesis; apoptosis

Received: Dec 6, 1996; accepted: Dec 21, 1996
Correspondence: Christian JASSOY, Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, Julius-Maximilians University, Versbacher Strasse 7 Würzburg D-97078, Germany; Tel: +49(931)2013442, Fax: +49(931)2013934; E-mail:

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