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Alterations in T Cell Subsets in Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Infected Adults with Co-infections in Southern Mozambique

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  • Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça, Manhiça, Mozambique; Barcelona Center for International Health Research, Hospital Clínic/Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Ministério de Saúde, Maputo, Mozambique

T cell activation and depletion of naive T cells are hallmarks of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pathogenesis. This study explored the relationships between certain co-infections (including syphilis, hepatitis B and C, human T cell lymphotrophic viruses I and II [HTLV-I/II], Kaposi sarcoma–associated herpesvirus [KSHV], Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and tuberculosis), and levels of activated CD8 and CD4 T cell subsets as well as naive and memory CD4 T cells in HIV-infected adults in a rural area of southern Mozambique. We found that syphilis infection and to a lesser extent HTLV-I/II seropositivity were independently associated with higher CD8 T cell activation (CD8+ CD38+ HLA-DR+) whereas only syphilis was associated with higher CD4 T cell activation. Furthermore, KSHV and HTLV-I/II seropositivities were independently associated with a lower percentage of naive CD4 T cells (CD4+ CD45RA+ CD62L+). These results highlight the importance of screening and prompt treatment of syphilis, and raise questions as to whether HIV-positive persons with certain chronic viral co-infections should initiate combined antiretroviral therapy at higher CD4 cell counts.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Denise Naniche, Barcelona Centre for International Health, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer/Hospital Clinic C/Rossello, 132, 4°, Barcelona, E-08036 Spain. E-mail: dsuzanne@clinic.ub.es

Financial support: This study was supported by the Fundació “la Caixa” and the Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament. The Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça receives core funding from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development. The voluntary counseling and testing center is supported by the Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament. Denise Naniche was supported by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (Ramon y Cajal).

Disclosure: None of the authors has any conflicts of interest.

Authors' addresses: Denise Naniche, Barcelona Center for International Health Research, Hospital Clínic/Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, E-mail: dsuzanne@clinic.ub.es. Emilio Letang, Clara Menendez, and Pedro Alonso, Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça, Manhiça, Mozambique and Barcelona Center for International Health Research, Hospital Clínic/Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, E-mails: emili.letang@cresib.cat, cmenendez@clinic.ub.es, and palonso@clinic.ub.es. Tacilta Nhampossa and Catarina David, Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça, Manhiça, Mozambique and Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Ministério de Saúde, Maputo, Mozambique, E-mails: tacilta.nhampossa@manhica.net and catarinadavid20@yahoo.com.

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