Standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) is slow to reverse gut mucosal immune defects that cause persistent inflammation and immune activation. We examined whether intensifying early-administered ART through the addition of maraviroc and raltegravir would accelerate their resolution.Design:
ART-naïve men with early HIV infection were randomized in a double-blind manner to receive ART (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate + lopinavir/ritonavir), together with either combined placebo or raltegravir + maraviroc, for 48 weeks. In a predefined substudy, paired blood and sigmoid biopsies were collected at baseline and week 48. Mucosal CD4+ T-cell immune subsets (Th1, Th17, and Th22 cells), CD8+ T-cell immune activation, and soluble blood markers of inflammation (IL-6, IL-17, macrophage inflammatory protein-1b, soluble CD14, and IL-10) and coagulation (D-dimer) were measured.Results:
A total of 22 participants were enrolled, a median of 4 months after HIV acquisition. At baseline, there was substantial systemic and mucosal immune activation, and gut CD4+ T-cell numbers, Th22 cell numbers, and Th17 cell function were reduced compared with controls. Early ART restored gut Th22 numbers, improved but did not restore overall CD4+ numbers, and had no impact on Th17 function. Plasma levels of soluble CD14 and D-dimer normalized, whereas other inflammatory cytokines were reduced but not normalized. ART intensification had no impact on any blood or gut immune parameters.Conclusion:
Early HIV infection causes substantial mucosal and systemic immune activation, and gut CD4+ T-cell dysfunction. One year of ART improved but did not normalize most parameters, regardless of intensification with raltegravir and maraviroc, and did not restore mucosal Th17 function.