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J Infect Dis. 2011 Apr 1;203(7):992-1001. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiq141.

Effects of antiretroviral therapy on immune function of HIV-infected adults with pulmonary tuberculosis and CD4+ >350 cells/mm3.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.



Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-tuberculosis coinfection is associated with heightened immune activation, viral replication, and T cell dysfunction. We compared changes in T cell activation and function between patients receiving concurrent treatment for HIV-tuberculosis coinfection and those receiving treatment for tuberculosis alone.


HIV-infected adults with tuberculosis and CD4(+) T cell counts >350 cells/mm(3) were randomized to receive tuberculosis treatment alone (control arm; n = 36) or 6 months of antiretroviral therapy (ART) concurrent with tuberculosis treatment (intervention arm; n = 38). HIV viral load, T cell subsets, T cell activation, and cytokine production were measured at enrollment and every 3 months for 12 months.


Differences in absolute CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell counts were not observed between arms. Viral load was reduced while participants received ART; control patients maintained viral load at baseline levels. Both arms had significant reductions in T cell expression of CD38 and HLA-DR. Interferon-γ production in response to mitogen increased significantly in the intervention arm.


In HIV-infected adults with tuberculosis and CD4(+) T cell counts >350 cells/mm(3), both tuberculosis treatment and concurrent HIV-tuberculosis treatment reduce T cell activation and stabilize T cell counts. Concurrent ART with tuberculosis treatment does not provide additional, sustained reductions in T cell activation among individuals with preserved immunologic function.

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