Send to

Choose Destination
Gastroenterology. 2001 Mar;120(4):984-7.

Rapid increase of mucosal CD4 T cells followed by clearance of intestinal cryptosporidiosis in an AIDS patient receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy.

Author information

Department of Gastroenterology and Infectious Diseases, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Universitätsklinikum Benjamin Franklin, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) suppresses the replication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and leads to an increase in circulating CD4 T lymphocytes, but its effects on other immune compartments such as the intestinal mucosa are not well understood. We describe a severely immunodeficient HIV-infected patient with intractable watery diarrhea and weight loss caused by infection with Cryptosporidium parvum in whom we studied virologic and immunologic changes in both peripheral blood and the intestinal mucosa after initiating HAART. Mucosal biopsies were performed by rectoscopy before and at several time points after HAART was begun. Nucleic acids were extracted from rectal biopsy specimens and blood samples, and HIV RNA was measured by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Lymphocytes were isolated from rectal biopsy specimens after mechanical disaggregation, and circulating and mucosal CD4 T cells were determined by flow cytometry. HAART led to clinical recovery and eradication of cryptosporidiosis. In both blood and mucosa, HIV RNA decreased below the limit of detection and CD4 T cells increased. Mucosal CD4 T cells increased much faster and to much higher levels than circulating CD4 T cells. Our findings show a rapid repopulation of the intestinal mucosa with CD4 T cells after initiation of HAART that can effectively restore mucosal immunity, leading to eradication of opportunistic pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center