The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of first-line combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) regimen on the course of CD8+ T-cell counts in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients.
A retrospective observational study conducted on the French DAT’AIDS Cohort of HIV-infected patients.
We selected 605 patients initiating a first-line cART between 2002 and 2009, and which achieved a sustained undetectable HIV plasma viral load (pVL) for at least 12 months without cART modification. The evolution of CD8+ T-cell counts according to cART regimen was assessed.
CD8+ T-cell counts were assessed in 572 patients treated with 2NRTIs+1PI/r (n= 297), 2NRTIs+1NNRTI (n= 207) and 3NRTIs (n= 68). In multivariate analysis, after 12 months of follow-up, the 3NRTIs regimen was associated with a significantly smaller decrease of CD8+ T-cell count compared with NNRTI-containing regimens (–10.2 cells/μL in 3NRTIs vs –105.1 cells/μL; P=0.02) but not compared with PI-containing regimens (10.2 vs –60.9 cells/μL; P=0.21). After 24 months, the 3NRTIs regimen was associated with a smaller decrease of CD8+ T-cell count and % compared with PI/r- and NNRTI-containing regimens (0.2 in 3NRTIs vs –9.9 with PI/r-regimens, P=0.001, and vs –11.1 with NNRTI-regimens, p < 0.0001). A focus analysis on 11 patients treated with an INSTI-containing cART regimen during the study period showed after 12 months of follow-up, a median decrease of CD8+ T-cell count of –155 [inter quartile range: –302; –22] cells/μL.
Our data highlight the fact that cART regimens have differential effects on CD8 pool down regulation.