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Clin Exp Immunol. 1992 Apr;88(1):6-9.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, CD4+ lymphocyte counts and the development of AIDS in HIV-1-infected haemophiliac patients.

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Division of Communicable Diseases, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London, England.


After a maximum of 11 years (median 8.3 years) from the time of HIV seroconversion, 25 out of 59 (42%) of CMV-seropositive haemophiliacs had progressed to AIDS, as opposed to eight out of 50 (16%) CMV seronegatives. The age-adjusted relative risk for AIDS among CMV seropositives was 2.4 (P = 0.03). In order to determine how this adverse effect is mediated, the mean rate of decline in serial CD4+ lymphocyte counts was studied. CD4+ lymphocyte counts tended to decline more rapidly in CMV seropositives than in seronegatives (-0.087 x 10(9)/l per annum versus -0.082 x 10(9)/l per annum), but this difference did not reach statistical significance. The average CD4+ lymphocyte count at the time of HIV seroconversion was estimated to be similar in CMV seropositives and negatives, because in HIV-1-negative haemophiliacs the CD4+ counts were virtually identical, after adjustment for age (0.94 x 10(9)/l and 0.97 x 10(9)/l, respectively). The median CD4+ cell count at which AIDS developed was higher in the CMV-seropositive group (0.07 x 10(9)/l) than in the seronegative group (0.04 x 10(9)/l), but this difference did not reach statistical significance. We conclude from these findings that the adverse effect of CMV is not wholly mediated via a more rapid loss of CD4+ cells. We discuss other processes that may be mediated by CMV, such as a functional deficiency of residual CD4+ cells, or dissemination of HIV in other organs, which may be important in determining the earlier onset of AIDS among CMV-seropositive subjects.

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