Antimicrobial-Specific Cell-Mediated Immune Reconstitution in Children with Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy

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To identify virological and immunological correlates of microbial-specific immune reconstitution in children with advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, Candida- and tetanus-specific lymphocyte proliferation was measured in 165 children initiating a new highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimen. During the study, the proportions of children with immunity to Candida and tetanus increased from 53% to 66% and 19% to 22%, respectively. Tetanus immunity was associated with an HIV load ∽400 RNA copies/mL and with Candida immunity. At the end of the study, 23% of the patients with baseline negative lymphocyte proliferation had tetanus immunity, and 65% had Candida immunity. Reconstitution of tetanus immunity correlated with lower end-of-study HIV loads and activated CD8+ cell percentages and higher baseline and in-study CD4+ cell percentages, but not with a gain of CD4+ cells. Reconstitution of Candida immunity showed similar trends. In conclusion, children with advanced HIV infection receiving HAART reconstituted Candida immunity more readily than they did tetanus immunity, suggesting a role for antigen reexposure. Additional factors for immune reconstitution were low HIV load, high CD4+ cell percentages, and low levels of activated CD8+ cells.

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