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J Infect Dis. 2008 Sep 15;198(6):843-50. doi: 10.1086/591250.

CD4 T cell survival after intermittent interleukin-2 therapy is predictive of an increase in the CD4 T cell count of HIV-infected patients.

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Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA.


Administration of interleukin (IL)-2 to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients leads to significant increases in CD4 T cell counts. We previously have shown that IL-2 induces increased proliferation and survival of CD4 T cells. Deuterium labeling studies were undertaken to study the relationship between IL-2-induced increases in the CD4 T cell count and the effects of IL-2 on cell proliferation and survival. A strong inverse correlation was noted between the rate of decay of the label in CD4 cells and increases in CD4 cell counts (R =or- 0.67; P<.001). This correlation was not seen with the level of proliferating cells. Although the CD4 cell count at baseline and the number of CD4 cells expressing CD25 were also predictive of increases in the CD4 cell count, the rate of decay remained the most statistically significant predictor in multivariate regression models. Thus, an increase in the survival of CD4 T cells appears to be the critical mechanism leading to sustained increases in the CD4 cell counts of HIV-infected patients receiving intermittent IL-2 therapy.

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