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BACKGROUND: Susceptibility to coinfections in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients remains increased despite antiretroviral therapy (ART). To elucidate mechanisms involved in immune reconstitution, we studied immune activation, immune exhaustion, and HIV- and copathogen-specific T-cell responses in children before and after ART. METHODS: We prospectively enrolled 25 HIV-infected children to study HIV-, cytomegalovirus (CMV)-, and tuberculosis (TB)-specific T-cell responses before and 1 year after initiation of ART using intracellular cytokine (interleukin-2, interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α) staining assays after in vitro stimulation. We further measured expression of activation, immune exhaustion, and memory phenotype markers and studied proliferative responses after antigen stimulation. RESULTS: We observed differential, pathogen-specific changes after 1 year of ART in cytokine profiles of CD4 T-cell responses that were associated with shifts in memory phenotype and decreased programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) expression. The proliferative capacity of HIV- and PPD-specific responses increased after 1 year of ART. Of note, the recovery of CMV- and TB-specific responses was correlated with a decrease in PD-1 expression (r = 0.83, P = .008 and r = 0.81, P = .0007, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Reconstitution of immune responses on ART is associated with alterations in T-cell phenotype, function, and PD-1 expression that are distinct for HIV, TB, and CMV. The PD-1 pathway represents a potential target for immunotherapy in HIV-infected patients on ART with insufficient immune reconstitution.

Original publication




Journal article


J Infect Dis

Publication Date





1407 - 1417


HIV, antiretroviral therapy, cytomegalovirus, tuberculosis, Anti-Retroviral Agents, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cell Proliferation, Child, Child, Preschool, Cytokines, Cytomegalovirus, Female, HIV, HIV Infections, Humans, Immune Reconstitution, Immunologic Memory, Lymphocyte Activation, Male, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Phenotype, Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor, Prospective Studies