Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment for modulation of immune activation in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infected therapy-naive individuals

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2007 Nov;23(11):1348-53. doi: 10.1089/aid.2006.0210.


We evaluated the ability of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) to diminish immune hyperactivation, which is considered a major cause of CD4+ T cell loss during chronic HIV-1 infection and whether this affected CD4+ T cell counts and plasma HIV-1 RNA (pVL). Therefore, we treated six chronically HIV-1-infected, antiretroviral-therapy-naive patients with IVIG (0.4 g/kg) at weeks 0 and 4, with a follow-up of 12 weeks after the second dosage during which pVL, T cell numbers, and T cell activation were measured. At baseline median CD4+ T cell counts were 300 (range 200-460) x 10(6)/liter and median pVL was 5.0 (range 3.2-5.2) log10 copies/ml. IgG plasma levels peaked during the first days after administration. We observed a decrease in the percentage of activated (CD38+ HLA-DR+) CD4+ and CD8+ T cells [3.5% (range 1-7%) and 5% (1-10%), respectively (p = 0.027)], but no effect on the fraction of proliferating CD4+ or CD8+ T cells as measured by Ki67 expression. CD4+ T cell counts were significantly increased on day 4 (median +55 cells, range 0-150, p = 0.043). pVL was significantly increased on day 1 after IVIG infusion (median +0.13 log10, range 0.01-0.55, p = 0.028). All these parameters returned to baseline levels within 1 week after infusion. In conclusion, administration of IVIG caused a temporary decrease in T cell activation and an increase in CD4+ T cell counts, despite an increase in pVL. Our results support the hypothesis that T cell activation, rather than direct HIV-1 infection, mediates the loss of CD4+ T cells and suggest that immunomodulating therapy in HIV-1 infection could indeed be effective.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Ki-67 Antigen / biosynthesis
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Viral Load


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • RNA, Viral