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Title: Effect of recent thymic emigrants on progression of HIV-1 disease.
Authors: Hatzakis A,  Touloumi G,  Karanicolas R,  Karafoulidou A,  Mandalaki T,  Anastassopoulou C,  Zhang L,  Goedert JJ,  Ho DD,  Kostrikis LG
Journal: Lancet
Date: 2000 Feb 19
Branches: IIB
PubMed ID: 10696979
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The concentration of T-cell receptor-rearrangement excision DNA circles (TREC) in peripheral-blood T cells is a marker of recent thymic emigrant alphabeta T cells. We studied the predictive ability of measurements of TREC for clinical outcome in HIV-1-infected individuals. METHODS: We measured TREC in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells with a real-time PCR assay. We studied 131 Greek participants in the Multicenter Hemophilia Cohort Study who had known HIV-1 seroconversion dates. The prognostic value of baseline TREC, CD4 T-cell count, and HIV-1 RNA concentration was assessed by Kaplan-Meier and Cox's regression analysis. FINDINGS: Four participants had progressed to AIDS by first blood sampling. Among the remaining 127 individuals, the median value of TREC per 10(6) cells was 6900 (IQR 2370-15604). Baseline TREC values were lower in the 53 who progressed to AIDS than in those who did not (geometric mean 2843 [95% CI 1468-5504] vs 6560 [4723-9113] per 10(6) cells; p=0.017). The relative hazard of AIDS, adjusted for plasma viral load, CD4 T-cell count, and age at seroconversion was 1.44 (95% CI 1.04-2.01; p=0.031) per ten-fold increase in TREC; that for death was 1.52 (1.12-2.06; p=0.007). The adjusted relative hazards of death were 2.91 (1.91-4.44; p<0.001) per ten-fold increase in plasma HIV-1 RNA load and 1.20 (1.04-1.38; p=0.014) per 100-cell decrease in CD4 T-cell count. INTERPRETATION: The concentration of TREC in the peripheral T-cell pool complements HIV-1 RNA load and CD4 T-cell count in predicting the rate of HIV-1 disease progression. Recent thymic emigrants have a role in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 disease.