Increased thymic output in HIV-negative patients after antiretroviral therapy

Daniel B. Graham, Michael P. Bell, Catherine J. Huntoon, Joel G.R. Weaver, Nanci Hawley, Andrew D. Badley, David J. McKean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effects of antiretroviral therapy on thymic output independent of HIV infection. Methods: Thymic output was evaluated by quantifying signal joint T-cell receptor (TCR) recombination excision circles in peripheral blood lymphocytes from HIV-negative patients undergoing prophylactic antiretroviral therapy. Additionally, effects of the HIV protease inhibitor nelfinavir were assessed in vivo on TCR-induced death of murine double-positive thymocytes. Results: Five out of seven HIV-negative patients undergoing prophylactic antiretroviral therapy exhibited a dramatic increase (1-3 log 10) in recent thymic emigrants containing signal joint TCR recombination excision circles while their peripheral T cell compartments remained relatively unaffected. None of the patients developed subsequent HIV infections. Interestingly, nelfinavir did not have significant effects on TCR-induced apoptosis of murine thymocytes in vivo. Conclusion: Antiretroviral therapy augments thymic output independent of HIV. Furthermore, nelfinavir does not dramatically affect TCR-induced thymocyte death in mice, thus central tolerance remains intact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1472
Number of pages6
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 23 2005


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Apoptosis
  • Protease inhibitors
  • Recent thymic emigrants
  • Thymocytes
  • sjTRECS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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