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J Infect Dis. 2000 Sep;182(3):766-75. Epub 2000 Aug 17.

Enhancement of human immunodeficiency virus type 1-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell responses in chronically infected persons after temporary treatment interruption.

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The Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 10104, USA.


Immunologic and virologic outcomes of treatment interruption were compared for 5 chronically human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons who have maintained antiretroviral therapy-mediated virus suppression, as compared with 5 untreated controls. After a median interruption of 55 days of therapy accompanied by rebound of virus, reinitiated therapy in 4 of 5 subjects resulted in suppression of 98.86% of plasma virus load by 21-33 days and no significant decrease in CD4 T cell percentage from baseline. Increased T helper responses against HIV-1 p24 antigen (P=. 014) and interferon-gamma-secreting CD8 T cell responses against HIV-1 Env (P=.004) were present during interruption of therapy and after reinitiation of treatment. The remaining subject whose treatment was interrupted did not resume treatment and continued to have a low virus load (<1080 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL) and persistent antiviral cell-mediated responses. In summary, cellular immunity against autologous HIV-1 has the potential to be acutely augmented in association with temporary treatment interruption in chronically infected persons.

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