Increases in T cell telomere length in HIV infection after antiretroviral combination therapy for HIV-1 infection implicate distinct population dynamics in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells

Sumesh Kaushal, Alan L. Landay, Michael M. Lederman, Elizabeth Connick, John Spritzler, Daniel R. Kuritzkes, Harold Kessler, Bruce L. Levine, Daniel C. St. Louis, Carl H. June

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Changes in mean telomeric terminal restriction fragment (TRF) length were examined as a marker for cellular replicative history in HIV-1-infected individuals after institution of anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Increases in mean T cell TRF lengths were observed in most patients following therapy; however, the contribution of individual T cell subsets was complex. An elongation of CD8+ T cell TRF was nearly uniformly observed while changes in mean TRF length in CD4+ T cells were heterogeneous as, despite potent suppression of viral replication, CD4 cell telomeres recovered in some patients, yet continued to decline in others. Increases in CD8 cell TRF correlated with decreased memory cells, suggesting a negative selection in the periphery for CD8 cells with extensive replicative history. In contrast, increases in CD4+ T cell TRF length correlated with increases in naive cell subsets, suggesting that the CD4+ T cell TRF increase may reflect a thymic contribution in some patients. These are the first increases in somatic cell telomere length in a population of cells observed in vivo, and the findings are compatible with therapy-induced reconstitution of the lymphoid compartment with cells having a more extensive replicative potential. These findings further distinguish lymphocytes from other somatic cell populations where only decreases in TRF over time have been noted. Thus, institution of ART in persons with moderately advanced HIV-1 disease reveals distinct population dynamics of CD4 and CD8 T cell subsets and also shows that the lymphocyte replicative history is dynamic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Immunology
Volume92
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV-1
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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