Immunity in HIV-1-Infected Adults with a Previous State of Moderate-Severe Immune-Suppression and More than 500 CD4+ T Cell After Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy

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Abstract

We evaluated phenotypic and functional parameters of immune restoration of 27 HIV-infected patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) (HIV-cases) with HIV-RNA levels below detectable limits at least during 18 months, and CD4+ cell per microliter higher than 500 at the moment of the study and lower than 300 anytime before. These patients were compared with 11 HIV-controls that never had less than 500 CD4+ cell per microliter and 20 healthy-controls (HIV seronegative subjects) in a cross-sectional study. HIV-cases had lower counts of naïve CD4+ than HIV-controls and healthy-controls. HIV-patients (both HIV-cases and HIV-controls) showed higher values of naïve and memory CD8+ counts than healthy-controls. TREC-bearing cell levels were significantly lower in HIV-cases than in healthy-controls. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) cultures, HIV-cases had lower values in proliferation to streptokinase (SK) and tetanus toxin (TT) than in healthy-controls. HIV-cases had lower IFN-γ and higher IL-5 production with pokeweed than healthy-controls (P < 0.01). However, IL-5 production of HIV-cases after TT stimulation was lower than in HIV-controls and healthy-controls. Total IgG and IgG1 levels were significantly higher in HIV-cases than in HIV-controls and healthy-controls. Also, IgM levels were significantly higher in HIV-cases than in healthy-controls. Nevertheless, IgG2 levels were significantly lower in HIV-cases and HIV-controls than in healthy-controls. The levels of specific Igs antipneumococcal capsular polysaccharide and TT were significantly lower in HIV-cases than in healthy-controls. HIV-patients with a previous state of severe-moderate immunosuppression normalizing their CD4+ counts have a incomplete immune reconstitution after HAART. Long-term consequences of this subclinical immune deficiency remain to be determined.

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