Lymphoid Fibrosis Occurs in Long-Term Nonprogressors and Persists With Antiretroviral Therapy but May Be Reversible With Curative Interventions

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication causes lymphoid tissue (LT) fibrosis, which causes CD4+ T-cell depletion. It is unknown whether people who spontaneously control HIV replication have LT fibrosis. We measured LT fibrosis and CD4+ T cells in 25 HIV controllers, 10 noncontrollers, 45 HIV-positive individuals receiving therapy, and 10 HIV-negative individuals. Controllers had significant LT fibrosis and CD4+ T-cell depletion, similar to noncontrollers, but the so-called Berlin patient (in whom HIV infection was cured) had near normal LT. Thus, LT fibrosis occurs in all HIV-infected subjects, and current therapy does not reverse it. Reversal of fibrosis during a curative intervention suggests that ongoing low-level virus production may maintain LT fibrosis.

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