Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Apr;117(4):909-15.

Association of CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts and new thymic emigrants in HIV-infected children during successful highly active antiretroviral therapy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0672, USA.



In a cohort of children receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with sustained plasma HIV-1 RNA < 50 copies/mL, children who reached undetectable RNA after week 8 (slow responders, median: week 20) had higher HIV-1 intracellular DNA (HIV-1 DNA) and equal or greater CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts compared with children who reached undetectable plasma HIV-1 RNA by week 8 (rapid responders) throughout HAART.


To determine whether levels of T-cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) could explain the apparent inconsistency between the quantity of HIV-1 DNA and CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts in HIV-1-infected children receiving HAART with sustained virologic suppression.


T-cell receptor excision circles and HIV-1 DNA and plasma HIV-1 RNA were quantified longitudinally by PCR in 31 children (median age, 5.6 years) with sustained undetectable plasma HIV-1 RNA for >104 weeks of HAART.


There was a positive correlation between TREC and HIV-1 DNA during HAART, notably at weeks 48 and 80 (P < .004). During the early stage of HAART, TREC levels positively correlated with CD4+ T-lymphocyte percentages (P < .02) and naive CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts (P < .001) and percentages (P = .05). Median TREC levels were consistently equal or higher in slow responders compared with rapid responders (P < .001) despite slow responders having consistently greater quantities of HIV-1 DNA.


To maintain adequate levels of CD4+ T-lymphocytes, children with high HIV-1 DNA maintain high levels of TREC while receiving HAART. Thus, a thymic control mechanism is required to maintain new CD4+ T lymphocytes in the presence of persistent virus.


The TREC level is a useful marker of thymic function in HIV-infected children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk