Source Interdisciplinary Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA; Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
GB virus C (GBV-C) is a lymphotropic human virus discovered in 1995 that is related to hepatitis C virus (HCV). GBV-C infection has not been convincingly associated with any disease; however, several studies found an association between persistent GBV-C infection and improved survival in HIV-positive individuals. GBV-C infection modestly alters T cell homeostasis in vivo through various mechanisms, including modulation of chemokine and cytokine release and receptor expression, and by diminution of T cell activation, proliferation and apoptosis, all of which may contribute to improved HIV clinical outcomes. In vitro studies confirm these clinical observations and demonstrate an anti-HIV replication effect of GBV-C. This review summarizes existing data on potential mechanisms by which GBV-C interferes with HIV, and the research needed to capitalize on this epidemiological observation.