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Transpl Int. 2007 Aug;20(8):649-58. Epub 2007 Apr 8.

Effects of immunosuppressive drugs on HIV infection: implications for solid-organ transplantation.

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Division of Immunology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.


With the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV infection has become a chronic disease. Various end-stage organ failures have now become common co-morbidities and are primary causes of mortality in HIV-infected patients. Solid-organ transplantation therefore has been proposed to these patients, as HIV infection is not anymore considered an absolute contraindication. The initial results of organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients are encouraging with no differences in patient and graft survival compared with non-HIV-infected patients. The use of immunosuppressive drug therapy in HIV-infected patients has so far not shown major detrimental effects, and some drugs in combination with HAART have even demonstrated possible beneficial effects for specific HIV settings. Nevertheless, organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients remains a complex intervention, and more studies will be required to clarify open questions such as long-term effects of drug interactions between antiretroviral and immunosuppressive drugs, outcome of recurrent HCV infection in HIV-infected patients, incidence of graft rejection, or long-term graft and patient survival. In this article, we first review the immunological pathogenesis of HIV infection and the rationale for using immunosuppression combined with HAART. We then discuss the most recent results of solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients.

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