Quantification of the variation due to laboratory and physiologic sources in CD4 lymphocyte counts of clinically stable HIV-infected individuals

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1995;10 Suppl 2:S67-73.


We have conducted a study to quantify the amount of variation in the CD4 lymphocyte counts of HIV-infected individuals due to laboratory and physiological factors. Thirty HIV-infected male volunteers had blood drawn on six occasions: three times in each of 2 weeks, 4 weeks apart. Two tubes of blood were drawn at each visit, and duplicate measurements were obtained from one of the tubes of blood. Differences between duplicate measurements from a single tube of blood and between CD4 counts obtained from two tubes of blood drawn on the same day were attributed to laboratory factors. Differences between CD4 counts obtained on different days were attributed to a combination of laboratory factors and physiologic factors, which included the effects of exercise, tobacco, and the consumption of alcohol and caffeine. The mean absolute CD4 count at the first visit was 450 (range 86-1,081). The short-term coefficient of variation of CD4 count was 13.7 (95% CI: 12.9, 14.6). Physiologic and laboratory factors accounted for 85% and 15% of the variation in CD4 counts, respectively. Variation in the absolute white blood cell count, lymphocyte percentage, and CD4 percentage accounted fo 52%, 29%, and 19% of the physiologic variation in CD4 counts, respectively. Our results confirm a high degree of short-term variability of CD4 counts among HIV-infected individuals, which can be largely attributed to physiological factors. This variability can be minimized more effectively by repeating CD4 counts over time than by repeating measurements at a single visit.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count*
  • Caffeine / pharmacology
  • Exercise / physiology
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smoking / blood


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Caffeine