Slow disease progression and robust therapy-mediated CD4+ T-cell recovery are associated with efficient thymopoiesis during HIV-1 infection

Marie Lise Dion, Rebeka Bordi, Joumana Zeidan, Robert Asaad, Mohammed Rachid Boulassel, Jean Pierre Routy, Micheal M. Lederman, Rafick Pierre Sekaly*, Remi Cheynier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


In chronic HIV infection, most untreated patients lose naive CD4 + and CD8+ T cells, whereas a minority preserve them despite persistent high viremia. Although antiretroviral therapy (ART)-mediated viral suppression generally results in a rise of naive and total CD4+ T cells, certain patients experience very little or no T-cell reconstitution. High peripheral T-cell activation has been linked to poor clinical outcomes, interfering with previous evaluations of thymic function in disease progression and therapy-mediated T-cell recovery. To circumvent this, we used the sj/βTREC ratio, a robust index of thymopoiesis that is independent of peripheral T-cell proliferation, to evaluate the thymic contribution to the preservation and restoration of naive CD4+ T cells. We show that the loss of naive and total CD4+ T cells is the result of or is exacerbated by a sustained thymic defect, whereas efficient thymopoiesis supports naive and total CD4+ T-cell maintenance in slow progressor patients. In ART-treated patients, CD4+ T-cell recovery was associated with the normalization of thymopoiesis, whereas the thymic defect persisted in aviremic patients who failed to recover CD4+ T-cell counts. Overall, we demonstrate that efficient thymopoiesis is key in the natural maintenance and in therapymediated recovery of naive and total CD4 + T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2912-2920
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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