Turnover of CD4+ and CD8+ T Lymphocytes in HIV-1 Infection as Measured by Ki-67 Antigen

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We investigated CD4+ and CD8+ T cell turnover in both healthy and HIV-1-infected adults by measuring the nuclear antigen Ki-67 specific for cell proliferation. The mean growth fraction, corresponding to the expression of Ki-67, was 1.1% for CD4+ T cells and 1.0% in CD8+ T cells in healthy adults, and 6.5 and 4.3% in HIV-1-infected individuals, respectively. Analysis of CD45RA+ and CD45RO+ T cell subsets revealed a selective expansion of the CD8+ CD45RO+ subset in HIV-1-positive individuals. On the basis of the growth fraction, we derived the potential doubling time and the daily turnover of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In HIV-1-infected individuals, the mean potential doubling time of T cells was five times shorter than that of healthy adults. The mean daily turnover of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in HIV-1-infected individuals was increased 2- and 6-fold, respectively, with more than 40-fold interindividual variation. In patients with <200 CD4+ counts, CD4+ turnover dropped markedly, whereas CD8+ turnover remained elevated. The large variations in CD4+ T cell turnover might be relevant to individual differences in disease progression.

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