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Reduced IL-7R T cell expression and increased plasma sCD127 in late presenting HIV-infected individuals

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BACKGROUND: Late presentation of HIV infection is associated with reduced chance of optimal immune recovery after initiating combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Interleukin-7 (IL-7) and the corresponding receptor, IL-7 receptor (IL-7R) made up of CD127 and CD132, are crucial for T cell homeostasis. This study aimed to describe IL-7R and IL-7 before and after initiation of cART in late presenting HIV-infected individuals, and the impact on immune recovery and T cell subset distribution after initiation of cART.

METHODS: A total of 100 HIV-infected individuals initiating cART were included in a prospective study. Samples were collected at baseline and after 6, 12, and 24 months of cART. Proportion and expression (median fluorescence intensity (MFI)) of IL-7R on T cells, and plasma concentrations of soluble CD127 (sCD127) and IL-7 were determined.

RESULTS: The IL-7R expression was reduced in late presenters with CD4 cell count <200 cells/µL compared to non-late presenters and healthy controls as demonstrated by lower proportion of CD127+CD132+ T cells and lower CD127 MFI. In contrast, plasma sCD127 was higher. These differences were partly reversed after suppressive cART. Interestingly, the CD127 MFI on CD4+ T cells was found to be a predictor of increased thymic output after 24 months of suppressive cART.

CONCLUSIONS: Severely altered IL-7R expression was found in late presenters, and associations between IL-7R expression and thymic output after 24 months of suppressive cART indicate an impact of a IL-7 response for the long term de novo production from thymus.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)81-90
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 48333337