A challenge for the future: aging and HIV infection
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- Rickabaugh, T.M. & Jamieson, B.D. Immunol Res (2010) 48: 59. doi:10.1007/s12026-010-8167-9
Older individuals (≥50 years of age) are increasingly becoming a new at-risk group for HIV-1 infection and, together with those surviving longer due to the introduction of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), it is predicted that more than half of all HIV-1-infected individuals in the United States will be greater than 50 years of age in the year 2015. Older individuals diagnosed with HIV-1 are prone to faster disease progression and reduced T-cell reconstitution despite successful virologic control with anti-retroviral therapy (ART). There is also growing evidence that the T-cell compartment in HIV-1+ adults displays an aged phenotype, and HIV-1-infected individuals are increasingly diagnosed with clinical conditions more commonly seen in older uninfected persons. As aging in the absence of HIV infection is associated with alterations in T-cell function and immunosenescence, the combined impact of both HIV-1 infection and aging may provide an explanation for poorer clinical outcomes observed in older HIV-1-infected individuals. Thus, the development of novel therapeutics to stimulate immune function and delay immunosenescence is critical and would be beneficial to both the elderly and HIV-1-infected individuals.