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JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes:
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000311
Original Article: PDF Only

T-cell Activation, Both Pre- and Post-HAART Levels, Correlates with Carotid Artery Stiffness over 6.5 years among HIV-infected Women in the WIHS.

Karim, Roksana MBBS, PhD; Mack, Wendy J. PhD; Kono, Naoko MS; Tien, Phyllis C. MD; Anastos, Kathryn MD; Lazar, Jason MD; Young, Mary MD; Desai, Seema PhD; Golub, Elizabeth T. PhD; Kaplan, Robert C. PhD; Hodis, Howard N. MD; Kovacs, Andrea MD

Published Ahead-of-Print
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Abstract

Objective: T-cell activation is a major pathway driving HIV disease progression. Little is known regarding the impact of T-cell activation on HIV-associated atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, a common co-morbidity in HIV infection. We hypothesized that T-cell activation will predict vascular stiffness, a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis.

Design: Linear regression models evaluated the covariate-adjusted association of T-cell activation with vascular stiffness.

Methods: CD38 and HLA-DR expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells was assessed by flow cytometry among 59 HIV-negative and 376 HIV-infected (185 hepatitis-C co-infected) women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). T-cell activation was defined by CD8+CD38+DR+ and CD4+CD38+DR+. Multiple activation assessments over 6.5 years were averaged. In 140 women, T-cell activation was measured before and after HAART initiation. Carotid artery ultrasounds were completed a median of 6.5 years after last measurement of T- cell activation and carotid artery stiffness including distensibility and elasticity were calculated. Results: Percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell activation were significantly higher in HIV- infected compared to HIV-negative women. Among HIV-negative women, T-cell activation was not associated with carotid artery stiffness. Among HIV-infected women, higher CD4+ T-cell activation significantly predicted increased arterial stiffness independent of CD4 cell count and HIV RNA. The association was stronger among HIV/HCV co-infected compared to HIV-mono- infected women; however, the difference was not statistically significant (p-for interaction>0.05). Pre- and post-HAART levels of CD4+ T-cell activation significantly predicted carotid artery stiffness.

Conclusions: Persistent T-cell activation, even after HAART initiation, can contribute to structural and/or functional vascular damage accelerating atherogenesis in HIV infection. These results need to be confirmed in a longitudinal prospective study.

(C) 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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