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Semen boosts HIV transmission
Nature News ^ | 13 December 2007 | Heidi Ledford

Posted on 12/16/2007 2:34:37 PM PST by neverdem

Fibres may be more important than viral load in determining transmission rates.

A component found in semen can enhance HIV transmission by as much as 100,000-fold, researchers have found. The results, if verified in a clinical setting, could identify a new way to help prevent the spread of the disease.

"I think this is tremendous," says Christopher Pilcher, an HIV researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not affiliated with the study. "It raises a lot of really fundamental questions about how HIV is transmitted."

Over 80% of HIV infections are acquired through sexual intercourse, primarily via semen from HIV-positive men. Pilcher says that researchers have been studying the role of semen in HIV transmission, but have focused primarily on the quantity and type of virus contained in semen. "We’ve looked at everything except the semen itself," he says.

Now researchers have found that peptides clustered together into long fibres may be more important for HIV transmission than viral load. “If that’s true, then we’ve been looking at the wrong thing for a long time,” says Pilcher.

Helping to infect ourselves

The fibres are the latest in a growing list of products produced by the body that affect HIV infection. Earlier this year, Frank Kirchhoff of the University of Ulm in Germany, together with Wolf-Georg Forssmann of IPF PharmaCeuticals in Hannover, Germany, and their colleagues, reported the isolation of a peptide found in blood that inhibits HIV entry into cells (see Natural peptide protects against HIV).

Now, Kirchhoff and Forssmann have taken a similar approach using semen. They collected peptides and small proteins harvested from semen and then screened the compounds in cell cultures to determine the effects on HIV infectivity.

They found that fragments of a protein called 'prostatic acidic phosphatase' strongly enhanced HIV transmission. The peptides were most active when they clustered together to form fibres called amyloid fibrils.

Depending on the laboratory assay being used, the fibres enhanced transmission of the virus by as little as 30-fold or as much as 400,000-fold. The results are published this week in Cell 1. The researchers also tested the fibres in rats that were engineered to be susceptible to HIV infection. Rats injected with both the fibres and HIV had five times more viral DNA in their blood than those injected with HIV alone.

Seminal fibres

Many human proteins can form amyloid fibrils, and these fibres are associated with several diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. But none had been previously shown to affect virus transmission, says Per Westermark, who studies the fibrils at Uppsala University in Sweden.

The seminal fibres physically capture the HIV virus, the researchers found, and help HIV to interact with host cells in culture. This suggests that drugs that prevent HIV from binding to the fibres could slow HIV spread, says Westermark.

Robin Shattock, an HIV researcher at St. George's, University of London, who has also been studying HIV transmission, says the results are promising but cautions against reading too much into them without additional clinical studies. The researchers performed many of their experiments with purified peptide, he notes, which may not behave in the same way that it would in unmodified semen.

“The definitive experiments have not been done,” says Shattock. Shattock argues that the peptide fibres need to be tested in a non-human primate by exposing mucosal surfaces to HIV in the presence or absence of semen. Meanwhile, Pilcher estimates that clinical studies in humans could evaluate the relationship between seminal peptide-fibre content and HIV transmission within the next few years.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aids; anallyinjected; bisexuality; deathsentence; hiv; hivaids; immunology; microbiology; ninepins; promiscuity; virology; yathink
Maybe this explains the preponderance of male to female transmisission in heterosexual intercourse?

Semen-Derived Amyloid Fibrils Drastically Enhance HIV Infection

Natural peptide protects against HIV

HIV reveals site of vulnerability

Teams solve structure of key HIV proteins


1 posted on 12/16/2007 2:34:39 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem
The title ALONE merits declares you...


2 posted on 12/16/2007 2:41:50 PM PST by Old Sarge (This tagline in memory of FReeper 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub)
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To: neverdem

The article says 80% of HIV cases are the result of sexual intercourse. What is the cause of the other 20%?


3 posted on 12/16/2007 2:41:51 PM PST by spyone
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To: neverdem

>>A component found in semen can enhance HIV transmission by as much as 100,000-fold, researchers have found. The results, if verified in a clinical setting, could identify a new way to help prevent the spread of the disease.<<

;)

Gee, I can think of several now. Lesbianism would be one. Abstinence another.


4 posted on 12/16/2007 2:43:16 PM PST by RobRoy
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To: spyone

I’d guess passing a needle around.


5 posted on 12/16/2007 2:43:53 PM PST by purpleraine
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To: Mother Abigail; EBH; vetvetdoug; Smokin' Joe; Global2010; Battle Axe
Moderate HIV cases worst for transmission

People who stay free of symptoms longest are more likely to spread disease.

This has a curious URL. I couln't find a FReebie for the title on Yahoo or the initial Google search. I found it on Google when I checked the links that were omitted during the first search.

6 posted on 12/16/2007 2:49:21 PM PST by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: purpleraine; spyone
I’d guess passing a needle around.

That's most of it, but HIV positive mothers breast feeding uninfected children and contaminated blood products are other transmission methods.

7 posted on 12/16/2007 2:57:43 PM PST by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: neverdem

A component found in semen can enhance HIV transmission by as much as 100,000-fold, researchers have found. The results, if verified in a clinical setting, could identify a new way to help prevent the spread of the disease.


The “new way to help prevent the spread of the disease” being (drum-roll):

Don’t let anyone put semen inside of you.


8 posted on 12/16/2007 3:01:05 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed ("We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts; I support them, I won't chip away at them" -Mitt Romney)
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To: neverdem

Thanx. I used to know all that stuff back in the late 80s. We all donated blood at the UC Cardio Center in San Francisco. Our friend’s new baby had to have a valve transplant and some of the hospital’s blood had been infected. WE came up with enough in a small circle of friends and family. Really hit close to home.


9 posted on 12/16/2007 3:01:57 PM PST by purpleraine
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To: neverdem
Depending on the laboratory assay being used, the fibres enhanced transmission of the virus by as little as 30-fold or as much as 400,000-fold.

You should expect transmission to be enhanced through it's designed entry point. 30 to 400,000 seems like a rather large margin of error. I think they need a grant...
10 posted on 12/16/2007 3:02:31 PM PST by kinoxi
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To: neverdem
NEWS FLASH...

New Antidote Found That Prevents HIV Infection In Homosexual Men...

SIT DOWN AND KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

11 posted on 12/16/2007 3:06:39 PM PST by DocH (RINO-rudy for BRONX Dog Catcher 2008!!!)
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To: DocH
That only works for fags. Are you gay? Hmmmm? Inquiring minds want to know. ;)
12 posted on 12/16/2007 3:21:42 PM PST by kinoxi
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
In China, Farming Fish in Toxic Waters

Electric eel used to power Xmas lights

Chip-Shrinking May Be Nearing Its Limits

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

13 posted on 12/16/2007 3:31:39 PM PST by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: spyone
The article says 80% of HIV cases are the result of sexual intercourse. What is the cause of the other 20%

blow jobs
14 posted on 12/16/2007 3:51:25 PM PST by Sig Sauer P220
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To: spyone

Blood transfusions could be partially responsible.


15 posted on 12/16/2007 4:28:28 PM PST by Elsiejay
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To: neverdem
Over 80% of HIV infections are acquired through sexual intercourse

"Sexual intercourse" defined as . . . homosexual intercourse? That's not sexual—that is, it doesn't conform to the biological definition, which is intercourse between entities of different sexes.

As I recall from high-school biology, sexually undifferentiated one-celled critters sometimes exchange DNA. Near as I can figure, homosexual intercourse would have to be defined as asexual.

16 posted on 12/16/2007 4:35:26 PM PST by SamuraiScot
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To: Sig Sauer P220
Oral sex is sometimes considered intercourse (except by Bill Clinton).

It's a matter of sementics, though.

17 posted on 12/16/2007 4:38:47 PM PST by hellbender
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To: spyone

Drug addicts sharing needles account for most of the rest.


18 posted on 12/16/2007 4:40:40 PM PST by Cheburashka (Liberals never think what they have done is wrong, they think they haven't done it enough yet.)
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To: neverdem
products produced by the body

AKA biological products
19 posted on 12/16/2007 4:42:14 PM PST by aruanan
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping.


20 posted on 12/16/2007 5:05:08 PM PST by GOPJ (Dems! Would you trust a pilot's wife to land a plane just because she's a frequent flyer??)
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To: spyone

Infected blood...blood transfusions


21 posted on 12/16/2007 5:07:30 PM PST by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: neverdem
A component found in semen can enhance HIV transmission by as much as 100,000-fold, researchers have found.

I'm not sure what they're saying here. Semen is 100,000 times more likely to transmit HIV than what, concrete?

22 posted on 12/16/2007 5:12:30 PM PST by Cementjungle
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To: neverdem

Does this mean the rumors about Magic Johnson are true?


23 posted on 12/16/2007 5:29:54 PM PST by Reagan79 (Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys)
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To: Cementjungle
I'm not sure what they're saying here. Semen is 100,000 times more likely to transmit HIV than what, concrete?

blood, other bodily fluids, tissues and organs

24 posted on 12/16/2007 6:35:34 PM PST by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: neverdem

There are elements in Seminal fluid which increase absorption and neutralize some of the acidity of a vagina. This helps in impregnation.
Is it suprising that these protiens and base solution would also affect disease transmission relative to saliva or vaginal excretions?


25 posted on 12/16/2007 10:01:08 PM PST by rmlew (Build a wall, attrit the illegals, end the anchor babies, Americanize Immigrants)
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