Nelfinavir monotherapy increases naïve T-cell numbers in HIV-negative healthy young adults

Stacey A. Rizza, Eric G. Tangalos, Mark D. McClees, Michael A. Strausbauch, Paul V. Targonski, David J. McKean, Peter J. Wettstein, Andrew D. Badley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although patients treated with HIV protease inhibitor (PI) containing regimens manifest increases in naïve T cell number, it is unclear whether this is due to reduction in viral replication or a direct drug effect. We questioned whether Nelfinavir monotherapy directly impacted naïve T-cell number in HIV-negative individuals. HIV-negative volunteers received Nelfinavir, 1250 mg orally, BID for 3 weeks, and T-cell receptor recombination excision circles (TREC) content in peripheral blood were assessed. Whereas TREC copies did not change over 3 weeks in untreated controls, TREC copies/copies CCR5 increased following Nelfinavir monotherapy in 8 patients (p<0.02), and did not change in 7 patients (p=NS). Those patients who responded were younger than those who did not with a median age of 55 years for responders and 71 years for non-responders (p<0.03). The increase in TREC was most pronounced in those patients less than 40-years old (p<0.01). Moreover, the patients who did not increase TREC levels were more likely to have suffered a medical illness previously shown to reduce thymic function. In HIV-negative patients, monotherapy with the HIV PI Nelfinavir for 21 days increases TREC-positive naïve T cell number, particularly in individuals who are healthy and young.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1605-1609
Number of pages5
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


  • Age
  • HIV protease inhibitors
  • Nelfinavir
  • TREC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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