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Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Feb 1;48(3):350-61. doi: 10.1086/595888.

Incomplete reconstitution of T cell subsets on combination antiretroviral therapy in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group protocol 384.

Author information

1
Infectious Diseases Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA. grobbins@partners.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) results in higher total CD4 cell counts, a surrogate for immune reconstitution. Whether the baseline CD4 cell count affects reconstitution of immune cell subsets has not been well characterized.

METHODS:

Using data from 978 patients (621 with comprehensive immunological assessments) from the AIDS [Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome] Clinical Trials Group protocol 384, a randomized trial of initial ART, we compared reconstitution of CD4(+), CD4(+) naive and memory, CD4(+) activation, CD8(+), CD8(+) activation, B, and natural killer cells among patients in different baseline CD4(+) strata. Reference ranges for T cell populations in control patients negative for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were calculated using data from AIDS Clinical Trials Group protocol A5113.

RESULTS:

Patients in the lower baseline CD4(+) strata did not achieve total CD4(+) cell counts similar to those of patients in the higher strata during 144 weeks of ART, although CD4(+) cell count increases were similar. Ratios of CD4(+) naive-memory cell counts and CD4(+):CD8(+) cell counts remained significantly reduced in patients with lower baseline CD4(+) cell counts (<or=350 cells/mm(3)). These immune imbalances were most notable for those initiating ART with a baseline CD4(+) cell count <or=200 cells/mm(3), even after adjustment for baseline plasma HIV RNA levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

After nearly 3 years of ART, T cell subsets in patients with baseline CD4(+) cell counts >350 cells/mm(3) achieved or approached the reference range those of control individuals without HIV infection. In contrast, patients who began ART with <or=350 CD4(+) cells/mm(3) generally did not regain normal CD4(+) naive-memory cell ratios. These results support current guidelines to start ART at a threshold of 350 cells/mm(3) and suggest that there may be immunological benefits associated with initiating therapy at even higher CD4(+) cell counts.

PMID:
19123865
PMCID:
PMC2676920
DOI:
10.1086/595888
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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