T cell repopulation in HIV infected children on highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART)

18 Apr, 2001

Authors: King D J.S., Gotch F M., Larsson-Sciard E.

Published in: Clin Exp Immunol.2001;125(3):447-454

Abstract In this pilot study, we address the nature of the re-population of the T-cell compartment in HIV-1+ (Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1), vertically infected children placed on successful regimens of HAART (highly active anti-retroviral therapy) incorporating 2 NRTI and a protease inhibitor. The clonality of the T-cell compartment and the abundance of RTEs (Recent Thymic Emigrants) were determined 2 weeks before and 20 weeks after initiation of HAART in a subgroup of children taking part in the PENTA (Paediatric European Network for the Treatment of AIDS) 5 trial. Analysis of the clonality of the circulating T-cell compartment was assessed using CDR3 spectratyping and analysed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov two sample test. This revealed that a high degree of T-cell clonal restriction still exists 5 months into therapy, despite the appearance of previously undetectable T-cell clones within the periphery. We detected no increase in RTE abundance in this 5 month period, as determined by PCR detection of TRECs (T-Cell Receptor Excision Circles). We conclude that the observed re-population of T cells within the periphery of treated children is heavily reliant upon the maintenance/expansion of pre-existing cells during the 5 month period immediately following the initiation of therapy.