Summary of the invention
The expression of the adipocytokine visfatin (also known as pre‐B‐cell colony enhancing factor 1, PBEF1 or nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase, NAMPT) was unexpectedly found by VIB researchers to be induced in monocytes of HIV patients. Furthermore, visfatin expression correlates with the plasma viral load rather than with CD4+ lymphocyte count, thereby directly indicating the presence of the virus instead of changes in the T lymphocyte population. This makes the level of visfatin expression an ideal marker for the diagnosis and progression of HIV infection. Accordingly, the expression of visfatin is reduced upon Highly Active Antiviral Therapy (HAART) associated with the reduction in viral load and visfatin expression can therefore also be used to assess the efficacy of treatment.
Determining visfatin expression level at the mRNA or protein level from a blood sample could be used to diagnose HIV infection, determine the evolution of the disease and also to evaluate the efficacy of a treatment.