Decreased T cell apoptosis and T cell recovery during highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)

Fabrizio Ensoli, Valeria Fiorelli, Cecilia Alario, Maria De Cristofaro, Donatella Santini Muratori, Arianna Novi, Maria Giovanna Cunsolo, Francesca Mazzetta, Antonello Giovannetti, Bianca Mollicone, Elena Pinter, Fernando Aiuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


T cell apoptosis represents a common mechanism of T cell depletion in HIV-1-infected individuals reflecting maturational and functional T cell abnormalities either directly or indirectly induced by the virus. In the present study, the effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on the spontaneous apoptosis of distinct T cell subsets were investigated during a 6-month follow-up in a cohort of HIV-1-infected individuals with CD4+ cell counts between 100 and 500 cells/μl and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels ≥10,000 copies/ml. We determined that the rapid and sustained increase of both naive (CD45RA+CD62L+) and memory (CD45R0+ and CD45RA+/CD62L-) CD4+ and, to as lesser extent, CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood was associated with a significant decrease of apoptotic CD4+ and CD8+ as well as CD3+CD4-CD8- T cells. Among CD4+ lymphocytes, at enrollment, the highest frequency of apoptotic cells was observed within the memory compartment, as defined by CD45R0 expression. During HAART, however, the frequency of CD4+CD45R0+ apoptotic T cells progressively decreased in association with a significant downregulation of surface activation markers that indicated decreased levels of systemic immune stimulation. These results indicate that effective viral suppression can contribute to progressive normalization of maturational and functional T cell abnormalities responsible for the high levels of T cell apoptosis in HIV-1-infected individuals. This, in turn, may contribute to a reduced rate of T cell loss and immune reconstitution during HAART. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-20
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Apoptosis
  • Immune reconstitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Decreased T cell apoptosis and T cell recovery during highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this