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J Infect Dis. 2014 Oct 15;210(8):1248-59. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu254. Epub 2014 May 1.

Soluble markers of inflammation and coagulation but not T-cell activation predict non-AIDS-defining morbid events during suppressive antiretroviral treatment.

Author information

Department of Medicine.
Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.
Positive Health Program, Department of Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California;
Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.
Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora.



Defining the association of non-AIDS-defining events with inflammation and immune activation among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons with antiretroviral therapy (ART)-associated virological suppression is critical to identifying interventions to decrease the occurrence of these events.


We conducted a case-control study of HIV-infected subjects who had achieved virological suppression within 1 year after ART initiation. Cases were patients who experienced non-AIDS-defining events, defined as myocardial infarction, stroke, non-AIDS-defining cancer, non-AIDS-defining serious bacterial infection, or death. Controls were matched to cases on the basis of age, sex, pre-ART CD4(+) T-cell count, and ART regimen. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma specimens obtained at the visit before ART initiation (hereafter, baseline), the visit approximately 1 year after ART initiation (hereafter, year 1), and the visit immediately preceding the non-AIDS-defining event (hereafter, pre-event) were analyzed for activated CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, plasma interleukin 6 (IL-6) level, soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor I (sTNFR-I) level, sTNFR-II level, soluble CD14 level, kynurenine-to-tryptophan (KT) ratio, and D-dimer level. Conditional logistic regression analysis was used to study the association between biomarkers and outcomes, with adjustment for potential confounders.


Higher IL-6 level, sTNFR-I level, sTNFR-II level, KT ratio, and D-dimer level at year 1 were associated with the occurrence of a non-AIDS-defining event. Significant associations were also seen between non-AIDS-defining events and values of these biomarkers in specimens obtained at baseline and the pre-event time points. Effects remained significant after control for confounders. T-cell activation was not significantly related to outcomes.


Interventional trials to decrease the incidence of non-AIDS-defining events among HIV-infected persons with virological suppression should consider targeting the pathways represented by these soluble markers. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00001137.


ART; HIV; Non-AIDS morbidity; immune activation; inflammation

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