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AIDS. 2006 Apr 24;20(7):1011-8.

Reconstitution of antimycobacterial immune responses in HIV-infected children receiving HAART.

Author information

1
School of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Cape Town, and Red Cross Children's Hospital, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, Republic of South Africa.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Recent epidemiological studies in adults suggest that HAART can prevent the development of tuberculosis in HIV-infected individuals, but the mechanisms are incompletely understood and no data exist in children. We investigated whether changes in mycobacterial-specific immune responses can be demonstrated in children after commencing antiretroviral therapy.

DESIGN:

We measured mycobacterial growth in vitro using a novel whole-blood assay employing reporter-gene tagged bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in a prospective cohort study in the tuberculosis-endemic environment of South Africa. Key cytokines were measured in supernatants collected from the whole-blood assay using cytometric bead array.

PATIENTS:

A cohort of 15 BCG-vaccinated HIV-infected children was evaluated prospectively for in-vitro antimycobacterial immune responses before and during the first year of HAART. All children had advanced HIV disease. Nine children completed all study timepoints.

RESULTS:

Before HAART, blood from children showed limited ability to restrict the growth of mycobacteria in the functional whole-blood assay. The introduction of HAART was followed by rapid and sustained reconstitution of specific antimycobacterial immune responses, measured as the decreased growth of mycobacteria. IFN-gamma levels in culture supernatants did not reflect this response; however, a decline in TNF-alpha was observed.

CONCLUSION:

This is the first study using a functional in-vitro assay to assess the effect of HAART on immune responses to mycobacteria in HIV-infected children. Our in-vitro data mirror the in-vivo observation of decreased susceptibility to tuberculosis in HIV-infected adults receiving antiretroviral agents. This model may be useful for further characterizing immune reconstitution after HAART.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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