Peripheral blood mononuclear cell abnormalities and their relationship to clinical course in homosexual men with HIV infection
Quantitative abnormalities of leukocyte subpopulations have been shown to correlate with clinical status in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. We have performed peripheral blood leukocyte phenotyping in 23 HIV-seropositive homosexual men, and correlated the results with clinical follow-up information. Individuals with CD4+ greater than 400/mm3 (Group 1) had less severe abnormalities in other mononuclear cell subpopulations than patients with CD4+ less than 400/mm3 (Group 2). Group 1 had decreased CD4+CDw29+ (B-cell inducer) cells, compared to HIV-seronegative homosexual controls, with normal CD4+CD45R+ (suppressor-inducer) cells, suggesting that CD4+ subpopulations are reduced at different rates. Group 2 had decreased counts for both CD4+CDw29+ and CD4+CD45R+ cells. Both groups had increased cytotoxic T cells (CD8+CD11b-), with decreased B cells and CD4+/CD8+ ratios, compared to HIV-seronegative homosexual controls. The Group 2 patients with subsequent clinical deterioration had particularly low CD4+ cells, CD4+CD45R+ cells, CD2+Ta1+ cells, and CD4+/CD8+ ratios and high CD8+CD11b- cells, compared to those with clinically stable illness. Our findings suggest that specific leukocyte subpopulations are altered differentially at various stages of HIV infection. However, the study involved only quantitative measurements of specific T- and B-cell subsets with no attempt to measure in vitro function. It is of course possible that normal numbers of cells in these subpopulations might be functionally deficient.