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Study Suggests Poor Immune Recovery Related to Nadir CD4 Count and CD4 Cell Intrinsic Apoptosis
“Although antiretroviral therapy improves immune response, some human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients present unsatisfactory CD4 T cell recovery despite achieving viral suppression, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. … We included 230 patients who were receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy and who had a viral load <50 copies/mL for >2 years; 95 were "discordant" (case patients; CD4 T cell count always <350 cells/microL), and 135 were "concordant" (control subjects). … Discordant patients showed higher levels of activation markers, mainly in CD4 T cells (p < .001), and higher rates of spontaneous cell death (P < .001). Rates of activation and rates of CD4 T cell death (mainly by intrinsic apoptosis) were the best predictive factors for immune recovery, along with nadir CD4 T cell count. … CD4 T cell apoptosis by the intrinsic pathway represents the determinant mechanism of the unsatisfactory immune recovery and should be targeted to manage therapy for discordant patients. The predictive value of low nadir CD4 T cell count for a poor immune recovery led us to consider starting antiretroviral therapy earlier. No differences were observed among antiretrovirals in terms of immune recovery.”
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