Thymic function in HIV infection
- Cite this article as:
- Hazra, R. & Mackall, C. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep (2005) 2: 24. doi:10.1007/s11904-996-0005-2
Current models hold that CD4+ depletion occurs as a result of direct and indirect effects of HIV, which both kill peripheral CD4+ cells and prevent adequate regeneration. Although age-associated involution diminishes thymic reserve and HIV is clearly thymotoxic, clinical trials have nonetheless shown that large proportions of patients who sustain adequate control of viral replication with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) will demonstrate some evidence for thymic-dependent immune reconstitution, which is associated with improved immune competence. Furthermore, patients with insufficient or absent immune reconstitution following HAART generally lack evidence for thymopoiesis. Current studies are focused on improving our understanding of the causes for thymic failure in HIV infection. Recent work has demonstrated that some HIV strains, especially those that are CXCR4 trophic, are more thymotoxic and may contribute to irreversible thymic damage in this population.