Summary:The trajectories of change in CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes and serum neopterin and β2-microglobulin (β2M) levels were determined in 158 HIV-seropositive individuals during 5.5 years before a clinical AIDS diagnosis. Each patient was evaluated separately using a two-piece regression model with seven possible change points to identify any adverse change (inflection point) in the slopes of each immunologic marker of HIV infection. Two categories of subjects were distinguished for each marker—those with statistically significant inflection points and those who demonstrated a steady progression of changes to AIDS. Fifty-nine percent had an inflection point for CD4+ T cells. The frequency of inflection points for CD8+ was 49%, for serum neopterin -48% and for β2M -38%. Inflection points were found over a 4-year span. Three distinctive categories of inflection points were observed on the basis of their independent occurrence: one was in CD4+ T cells, another in CD8+ T cells, and a third in the serum markers of immune activation. The inflection point for CD4+ usually occurred prior to those for CD8+ T cells (p = .0002). The HIV-positive persons with inflection points were diagnosed with AIDS when immunologic parameters were significantly more abnormal than in those with steady progression (p < .0003). Thus, these two groups differed in the course of immune changes and in the levels of immune abnormalities associated with the occurrence of clinical AIDS.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to P. Nishanian, CIRID at UCLA, School of Medicine, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1747, U.S.A.
Manuscript received May 23, 1997; accepted February 9, 1998.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.