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Relative significance of different pathways of immune reconstitution in HIV type 1 infection as estimated by mathematical modeling.

Kaufmann GR, Zaunders J, Murray J, Kelleher AD, Lewin SR, Solomon A, Smith D, Cooper DA

  • Journal AIDS research and human retroviruses

  • Published 05 Apr 2001

  • Volume 17

  • ISSUE 2

  • Pagination 147-59

  • DOI 10.1089/08892220150217238


A major goal of antiretroviral HIV-1 therapy is the reversal of HIV-1-associated immunological dysfunction. However, the pathogenetic mechanisms involved and their significance are largely unknown. On the basis of the life cycle of naive, activated, and memory CD4(+) T cell subsets, a mathematical model of immune reconstitution was developed and applied to data for T cell subsets in individuals with acute or chronic HIV-1 infection receiving antiretroviral therapy. The final model that most accurately fitted the data, and resulted in realistic estimates for CD4(+) T cell turnover, considered three pathways of immune reconstitution for naive cells, including thymic production, peripheral expansion, and redistribution of naive cells from lymphoid tissue. The reconstitution of the memory compartment was fitted through differentiation and expansion of naive cells and peripheral expansion of memory cells as well as redistribution of memory cells trapped in the lymphoid tissue. Estimated median half-lives for naive and memory CD4(+) T cells were 114 and 21 days, while total production rates were 9.1 x 10(7) and 2.4 x 10(9) cells/day, respectively. Peripheral expansion and thymic production contributed equally to the regeneration of naive cells, but peripheral expansion of memory cells was larger than production of these cells by differentiation of naive cells. A comparison of immune reconstitution in acute and chronic HIV-1 infection revealed that, after adjustment for age, the main difference was the more rapid release of a larger number of naive cells in treated acute HIV-1 infection. Thymic function and peripheral expansion rates, however, were similar in both cohorts.