Chronic HIV-infected children suffer from premature aging and aging-related diseases. Viral replication induces an ongoing inflammation process, with the release of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), the activation of the immune system, and the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Although combined highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) has significantly modified the natural course of HIV infection, normalization of T and B cell phenotype is not completely achievable; thus, many HIV-infected children display several phenotypical alterations, including higher percentages of activated cells, that favor an accelerated telomere attrition, and higher percentages of exhausted and senescent cells. All these features ultimately lead to the clinical manifestations related to premature aging and comorbidities typically observed in older general population, including non-AIDS-related malignancies. Therefore, even under effective treatment, the premature aging process of HIV-infected children negatively impacts their quality and length of life. This review examines the available data on the impact of HIV and ART on immune and biological senescence of HIV-infected children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy