Increases in effector cytotoxic T-lympocyte (CTLe) activity in HIV nonprogressors could be a warning sign of impending HIV disease progression, according to an Australian study in the December Journal of Medical Virology.
Researchers followed CTLe activity in 27 long-term nonprogressors who had maintained CD4-cell counts above 500 and had been asymptomatic for more than eight years. Nineteen of the study subjects had no detectable CTLe activity. The eight study subjects demonstrating CTLe activity also had higher blood-based HIV viral loads and a higher risk of disease progression within four years of study entry, the researchers report.
'The detection of CTLe activity and increasing viral load may be used as a predictive marker for disease progression in long-term nonprogressors,' the researchers conclude. Longer, more comprehensive studies also are needed to examine the links between CTLe activity, HIV viral loads, and disease progression, they add.