The use of cartilage allografts is being discussed because of the possible transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). To further delineate the possibility for an HIV infection of cartilage cells the susceptibility and permissivity of normal human chondrocytes to HIV-1 was assessed in culture. Isolated cartilage cells were incubated during 30 days with the HIV, testing the production of viral p24 antigens and the formation of particle-bound reverse transcriptase (RT) in the supernatant. The H9 cell line was used as positive control. The production of p24 antigen did not occur on chondrocytes during the whole culture time. Furthermore, no RT activity was detected throughout the entire experimental period. Our results indicate clearly that HIV was not able to infect cartilage cells under these in vitro conditions, and, conclusively, HIV infection of cartilage in vivo is improbable.

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