Increased thymic mass and circulating naive CD4 T cells in HIV-1-infected adults treated with growth hormone

Laura A. Napolitano, Joan C. Lo, Michael B. Gotway, Kathleen Mulligan, Jason D. Barbour, Diane Schmidt, Robert M. Grant, Robert A. Halvorsen, Morris Schambelan, Joseph M. McCune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether treatment with growth hormone (GH) enhances thymopoiesis in individuals infected with HIV-1. Methods: Five HIV-1-infected adults were treated with GH for 6-12 months in a prospective open-label study. Immunological analyses were performed before GH treatment and repeated at 3 month intervals after GH initiation. Thymic mass was analysed using computed tomography with quantitative density and volume analysis. Analysis of circulating lymphocytes, including naive and memory T cell subsets, was performed using multiparameter flow cytometry. Results: GH treatment was associated with a marked increase in thymic mass in all GH recipients. Circulating naive CD4 T cells also increased significantly in all patients during GH therapy, suggesting an enhancement of thymopoiesis. Conclusion: GH has significant effects on the human immune system, including the reversal of thymic atrophy in HIV-1-infected adults. De-novo T cell production may thus be inducible in immunodeficient adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1111
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 24 2002


  • AIDS
  • CD4 T cells
  • Growth hormone
  • Immune reconstitution
  • Immune-based therapy
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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