Progressive human immunodeficiency virus-specific immune recovery with prolonged viral suppression

Jonathan B. Angel, Karl G. Parato, Ashok Kumar, Stephen Kravcik, Andrew D. Badley, Carole Fex, Deborah Ashby, Eugene Sun, D. William Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The degree of immune recovery achievable with anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) therapy remains to be established. The effects of potent antiretroviral therapy, including ritonavir and saquinavir, on immune function were studied for a prolonged period in 41 patients. After 96 weeks, 88% of patients had plasma HIV RNA levels below the limit of quantitation. There were continuous increases in CD4 lymphocyte counts and in CD4:CD8 ratios over time. About half the patients developed lymphoproliferative responses to HIV p24 antigen, and nearly all developed responses to phytohemagglutinin. This occurred in parallel with increases in interleukin-12 production and expression of CD28 on CD8 lymphocytes, despite potential antiproliferative effects of protease inhibitors. Transient increases in virus load were temporally associated with loss of proliferative responses. The improved immune function, including HIV-specific immunity in many subjects, demonstrates the potential reversibility of HIV-induced immunodeficiency and does not identify a limit to immune recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-554
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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