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There are significant associations between possession of certain HLA class I alleles and rate of progression to AIDS. Immunological data provide an explanatory mechanism for this relationship. Patients with HLA types associated with rapid disease progression recognize a significantly smaller fraction of their known repertoire of viral epitopes than do patients with HLA types associated with slow progression. Population frequency of HLA types (or supertypes) and their capacity to elicit cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses are also negatively correlated. These data provide an immunological mechanism to explain HLA-related risk of progression to AIDS and emphasize the central role of viral evolution in the pathogenesis of HIV.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





12266 - 12270


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Adult, Aged, Alleles, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Genes, MHC Class I, HLA Antigens, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Immunological, Spain, Switzerland, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic