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J Infect Dis. 2011 Feb 15;203(4):452-63. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiq071. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

T cell activation and senescence predict subclinical carotid artery disease in HIV-infected women.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.



Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have increased risk of cardiovascular events. It is unknown whether T cell activation and senescence, 2 immunologic sequelae of HIV infection, are associated with vascular disease among HIV-infected adults.


T cell phenotyping and carotid ultrasound were assessed among 115 HIV-infected women and 43 age- and race/ethnicity-matched HIV-uninfected controls participating in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Multivariate analyses were used to assess the association of T cell activation (CD38(+)HLA-DR(+)) and senescence (CD28(-)CD57(+)) with subclinical carotid artery disease.


Compared with HIV-uninfected women, frequencies of CD4(+)CD38(+)HLA-DR(+), CD8(+)CD38(+)HLA-DR(+), and CD8(+)CD28(-)CD57(+) T cells were higher among HIV-infected women, including those who achieved viral suppression while receiving antiretroviral treatment. Among HIV-infected women, adjusted for age, antiretroviral medications, and viral load, higher frequencies of activated CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and immunosenescent CD8(+) T cells were associated with increased prevalence of carotid artery lesions (prevalence ratio(lesions) associated with activated CD4(+) T cells, 1.6 per SD [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.1-2.2]; P = .02; prevalence ratio(lesions) associated with activated CD8(+) T cells, 2.0 per SD [95% CI, 1.2-3.3]; P < .01; prevalence ratio(lesions) associated with senescent CD8(+) T cells, 1.9 per SD [95% CI, 1.1-3.1]; P = .01).


HIV-associated T cell changes are associated with subclinical carotid artery abnormalities, which may be observed even among those patients achieving viral suppression with effective antiretroviral therapy.

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