Higher Body Mass Index Is Associated With Greater Proportions of Effector CD8+ T Cells Expressing CD57 in Women Living With HIV

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A low proportion of CD28−CD8+ T cells that express CD57 is associated with increased mortality in HIV infection. The effect of increasing body mass index (BMI) changes in the proportion of CD57+CD28−CD8+ T cells among HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy is unknown.


In a US cohort of HIV-infected women, we evaluated associations of BMI and waist circumference with 3 distinct CD8+ T cell phenotypes: % CD28−CD57+CD8+ T cells, % CD57+ of CD28−CD8+ T cells, and % CD28− of all CD8+ T cells.


Multivariable linear regression analysis was used to estimate beta coefficients for each of 3 T-cell phenotypes. Covariates included HIV parameters (current and nadir CD4, current viral load), demographics (age, race, income, and study site), and lifestyle (tobacco and alcohol use) factors.


Of 225 participants, the median age was 46 years and 50% were obese (BMI >30 m2/kg). Greater BMI and waist circumference were both associated with higher % CD28−CD57+CD8+ T cells and % CD57+ of all CD28−CD8+ T cells in multivariable analysis, including adjustment for HIV viral load (all P < 0.05). The association between greater BMI and the overall proportion of CD28− CD8+ cells in fully adjusted models (0.078, 95% confidence interval: −0.053 to 0.209) was not significant.


In this analysis, greater BMI and waist circumference are associated with greater expression of CD57 on CD28−CD8+ T cells and a greater proportion of CD57+CD28− CD8+ T cells. These findings may indicate that increasing BMI is immunologically protective in HIV-infected women. Future research is needed to understand the prognostic importance of these associations on clinical outcomes.

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