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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2003 Feb;19(2):103-9.

Thymic output during initial highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and during HAART supplementation with interleukin 2 and/or with HIV type 1 immunogen (Remune).

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Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London SW10 9NH, UK.


The thymic output of patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was assessed by sjTREC (signal joint T cell receptor rearrangement excision circle) analysis to determine the thymic contribution to CD4(+) T cell reconstitution during initial therapy and during interleukin 2 (IL-2) and/or Remune supplementation of HAART. Levels of sjTRECs were observed to decline dramatically after the first 4 weeks of HAART and then increased without significant associated changes in CD4(+) T cell counts. HAART supplementation with IL-2 was observed to lead to rapid increases in CD4(+) T cells that were accompanied by sjTREC decreases. No notable changes in CD4(+) T cell counts and sjTRECs were seen in patients receiving HAART supplemented with Remune alone. The results indicate CD4(+) T cell maintenance during initial treatment of HIV-1 with HAART and early CD4(+) T cell reconstitution of patients receiving IL-2 with HAART is largely due to thymus-independent mechanisms, with the thymus making a limited contribution.

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