Objectives: Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) induces a decline in viral load and a biphasic increase in peripheral blood CD4+ T-cell counts in HIV-infected patients. To evaluate the effect of HAART on T-cell receptor (TCR) diversity of repopulating naive and memory CD4+ T cells, complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) spectratyping was performed. Design: For four patients treated with HAART, CD45RO+ (memory) and CD45RA+ (naive) CD4+ T cells were isolated from peripheral blood leukocyte samples obtained 1 week before, 1-2 months after, and 9-11 months after start of treatment. Methods: CDR3 regions were amplified by TCR-BV-specific nested PCR from CD4+ T-cell subsets. CDR3 size distributions and single-strand conformation polymorphism profiles were compared as an indication for TCR diversity. Results: Increasing blood CD4+ T-cell counts during the first 2 months of treatment coincided with increased perturbation of CDR3 patterns in CD4+ T-cell subsets, suggesting an early oligoclonal repopulation. At later timepoints, CDR3 size diversity increased when T-cell counts did not substantially decrease. Memory and naive CD4+ T cells generally showed comparable levels of perturbation. Conclusion: Diversity of the TCR repertoire reflected biphasic T-cell repopulation during HAART, compatible with initial redistribution and later CD4+ T-cell production. Sustained elevation of T-cell counts will in principle result in restoration of TCR diversity.
|Publication status||Published - 24 Dec 1998|