Impact of first-line antiretroviral therapy regimens on the restoration of the CD4/CD8 ratio in the CNICS cohort

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2020 Jun 1;75(6):1604-1610. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkaa024.


Background: The CD4/CD8 ratio is an indicator of immunosenescence and a predictor of all-cause mortality in HIV-infected patients. The effects of different ART regimens on CD4/CD8 ratio recovery remain unclear.

Methods: Clinical cohort study of ART-treated patients from the CFAR Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS). We included ART-naive adults with HIV infection who achieved undetectable HIV RNA during the first 48 weeks of treatment and had additional follow-up 48 weeks after virological suppression (VS). Primary endpoints included increase in CD4/CD8 ratio at both timepoints and secondary endpoints were CD4/CD8 ratio recovery at cut-offs of ≥0.5 or ≥1.0.

Results: Of 3971 subjects who met the study criteria, 1876 started ART with an NNRTI, 1804 with a PI and 291 with an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI). After adjusting for age, sex, race, year of entry, risk group, HCV serostatus, baseline viral load and baseline CD4/CD8 ratio, subjects on an NNRTI showed a significantly greater CD4/CD8 ratio gain compared with those on a PI, either 48 weeks after ART initiation or after 48 weeks of HIV RNA VS. The greater CD4/CD8 ratio improvement in the NNRTI arm was driven by a higher decline in CD8 counts. The INSTI group showed increased rates of CD4/CD8 ratio normalization at the ≥1.0 cut-off compared with the PI group.

Conclusions: NNRTI therapy was associated with a greater increase in the CD4/CD8 ratio compared with PIs. NNRTI- and INSTI-based first-line ART were associated with higher rates of CD4/CD8 ratio normalization at a cut-off of 1.0 than a PI-based regimen, which might have clinical implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents* / therapeutic use
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Cohort Studies
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-HIV Agents