Background: The role of alcohol consumption in HIV-related adaptive immune dysfunction is debated. We hypothesized that heavy drinking would be associated with greater evidence of immunosenescence (i.e., aging-related decline of adaptive immune function) among antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naïve HIV-infected individuals.
Methods: Using data from the Russia ARCH cohort study, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of ART-naïve HIV-infected individuals recruited between 2012 and 2014.
Independent variable: Heavy drinking defined as >4 standard drinks in a day (or >14 standard drinks per week) for men and >3 per day (or >7 per week) for women, respectively.
Dependent variables: Percentage of CD8+ and CD4+ T-cells with a phenotype consistent with immunosenescence (i.e., expressing CD28- CD57+, or memory [CD45RO+ CD45RA+] phenotype and not the naïve [CD45RO- CD45RA+] phenotype).
Statistical analysis: Multiple linear regression adjusted for confounders.
Results: Of 214 eligible participants, 61% were heavy drinkers. Mean age was 33 years and the cohort was predominantly male (72%). Hepatitis C prevalence was high (87%) and mean log10 HIV-1 RNA copies/ml was 4.6. We found no significant differences by drinking status in the percentage of immunosenescent, memory, or naïve CD8+ or CD4+ T-cells.
Conclusions: In this cross-sectional analysis, heavy drinking in the setting of untreated HIV infection did not appear to be associated with alterations in T-cell phenotypes consistent with immunosenescence. To substantiate these findings, longitudinal studies should assess whether changes in alcohol consumption are associated with changes in these and other immunosenescent T-cell phenotypes.
Keywords: HIV; Heavy Drinking; Immunosenescence; Russia; T-Cell.
Copyright © 2016 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.