Syncytium (plural Syncytia):SFAF
a mass or clump of cells that fuse
together to form one "giant cell." In HIV infection syncytium
formation can may lead to direct cell-to-cell infection. Strains of HIV
are classified as either syncytium-inducing (SI) or non-syncytium-inducing
(NSI). SI strains tend to infect T-cells, whereas NSI strains tend to
Syncytia (Giant Cells)JAMA Dysfunctional multicellular clumps formed by cell-to-cell fusion. Cells infected with
HIV also may fuse with nearby uninfected cells, forming balloonlike giant cells called syncytia. In test-tube experiments, these giant cells have been associated with the death of uninfected cells. The presence
of so-called syncytia-inducing variants of HIV has been correlated with rapid disease progression in HIV-infected individuals.
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