Immunologic Targets of HIV Infection: T Cells

William T. Shearer, Howard M. Rosenblatt, Mark D. Schluchter, Lynne M. Mofenson, Thomas N. Denny, H. H. Peavy, A. Kalica, C. Kasten-Sportes, C. Vreirn, C. Weinstein, M. C. Wu, J. Boyett, M. Schluchter, D. Moodie, G. Beck, B. Baetz-Greenwalt, K. Easley, J. Goldfarb, L. Gragg, M. McHughA. Mehta, M. Meziane, R. Sterba, H. Houser, R. Martin, W. Shearer, N. Ayers, C. Baker, T. Bricker, G. Demmler, M. Doyle, M. Dycon, A. Garson, B. Gonik, H. Hammill, T. N. Hansen, I. C. Hanson, P. Hiatt, K. Hoots, K. Jacobson, D. Kearney, M. W. Kline, C. Kozinetz, C. Langston, C. Lapin, A. Ludomirsky, W. Moore, L. Pickering, E. Singleton, L. Taber, THE NICHD IVIG CLINICAL TRIAL GROUP, THE NHLBI P2C2 PEDIATRIC PULMONARY AND CARDIAC COMPLICATIONS OF HIV INFECTION STUDY GROUP

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


One of the principal targets of HIV infection is the human peripheral blood CD4+ T cell, resulting in progressive CD4+ lymphocyte loss. Hypothesized mechanisms for this loss include apoptosis, cytolytic reactions, V-p gene deletion of the T-cell receptor (TCR) by superantigens, CD4+ lymphocyte syncytium formation, and autoimmune reactions. In adults with HIV infection, the critical decline in CD4+ lymphocyte number that heralds the onset of AIDS-defining conditions is well characterized, whereas in infants and children the critical level of CD4+ cells predisposing to the development of AIDS-defining conditions or mortality is not fully characterized, due to an incomplete knowledge of CD4+ lymphocyte number and changes with age in normal and HIV-infected children. In a prospective study of 317 infants born to HIV-infected women, early results show that the monthly change in absolute CD4+ lymphocyte number over a 3- to 9-month period in HIV-infected infants was - 109 cells/mm3 per month, at least double the rate of decline measured in HIV-noninfected infants in the study or that calculated from normal infants' values reported in the literature. In other clinical studies in HIV-infected infants and children, it was possible to study the effect of low CD4+ cell counts on clinical status and mortality. In HIV-infected pediatric patients younger than 1 year, it was possible to correlate low CD4+ cell number with advanced disease status (CDC pediatric class P-2). It was also possible to correlate extremely low CD4+ cell counts (<200 cells/mm3) in HIV-infected children with a significant risk of mortality within the next 3 months of life. Sequential CD4+ cell analysis of HlV-high-risk infants will delineate the rate of HIV-related decline in CD4+ cells, thus facilitating the diagnosis of HIV infection and aiding in identification of HIV-infected children at high risk of disease progression or death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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