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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1998 May 1;14(7):561-9.

Changes in CD4+ and CD8+ T cell subsets in response to highly active antiretroviral therapy in HIV type 1-infected patients with prior protease inhibitor experience.

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Center for AIDS Research at Stanford, Division of Infectious Disease and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.


This study explores whether previous failures on antiretroviral drug regimens preclude the possibility of immune restoration. This was assessed by evaluating T cell subset changes in individuals who received a salvage regimen of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) after initially failing protease inhibitor monotherapy. Ten HIV-1-infected asymptomatic patients received a regimen of indinavir, zidovudine, and 3TC after failing saquinavir monotherapy. Changes in absolute numbers of naive, memory, and activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells expressing a selection of CD45RA, CD62L, CD45RO, HLA-DR, and CD38 markers were monitored prospectively over 6 months. These measurements were correlated with plasma viral load along with alterations in a selected CD8+ V alpha/Vbeta T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. Over 6 months there was a progressive increase in numbers of CD4+ memory (CD45RA-CD62L+) and naive (CD45RA+CD62L+) T cells, which displayed a modest inverse correlation with viral load. Two phases of CD8+ memory cell changes were identified, consisting of a transient increase in CD45RA+CD62L- numbers after 2 months and thereafter a progressive rise in CD45RA-CD62L+ cells until 6 months. A strong correlation existed between reduced viral load and loss of activated CD8+CD38+HLA-DR+ cell numbers. There was also a temporary broadening of the CD8+ V alpha/Vbeta TCR repertoire at 8 weeks, which became skewed after 6 months in parallel with reduced viral suppression. Closer analysis of naive and memory cell subset proportions in individual patients revealed that enlarged pools of naive subsets were evident in those patients with rebounds in viral load. Overall, drug-experienced patients responding to HAART displayed increased numbers of naive and memory CD4+ subsets, and reduced CD8+ cell activation with a loss of TCR skewing.

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