Aging is now a well-recognized characteristic of the HIV-infected population and both AIDS and aging are characterized by a deficiency of the T-cell compartment. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the impact of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in recovering functional response of T cells to both HIV-1-specific ENV peptides (ENV) and tetanus toxoid (TT), in young and aged AIDS patients who responded to ARV therapy by controlling virus replication and elevating CD4(+) T cell counts. Here, we observed that proliferative response of T-cells to either HIV-1-specific Env peptides or tetanus toxoid (TT) was significantly lower in older antiretroviral (ARV)-treated patients. With regard to cytokine profile, lower levels of IFN-γ, IL-17 and IL-21, associated with elevated IL-10 release, were produced by Env- or TT-stimulated T-cells from older patients. The IL-10 neutralization by anti-IL-10 mAb did not elevate IFN-γ and IL-21 release in older patients. Finally, even after a booster dose of TT, reduced anti-TT IgG titers were quantified in older AIDS patients and it was related to both lower IL-21 and IFN-γ production and reduced frequency of central memory T-cells. Our results reveal that ARV therapy, despite the adequate recovery of CD4(+) T cell counts and suppression of viremia, was less efficient in recovering adequate immune response in older AIDS patients.
Keywords: Antiretroviral therapy; Elderly; HIV; Immune recovery; Tetanus toxoid.
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