Elevated relative fluorescence intensity of CD38 antigen expression on CD8+ T cells is a marker of poor prognosis in HIV infection: results of 6 years of follow-up

Cytometry. 1996 Mar 15;26(1):1-7. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0320(19960315)26:1<1::AID-CYTO1>3.0.CO;2-L.


Relative fluorescence intensity measurements from a flow cytometer were used to evaluate expression of CD38 and HLA-DR antigens. These molecules are associated with cellular activation and are present at increased levels on the CD8+ lymphocytes of HIV-infected subjects. In the current study, the prognostic value of mean fluorescence intensity measurements of CD38 and HLA-DR on CD8+ cells was compared to results from our previous study in which we reported prognostic value for an elevated percentage of CD8+ cells that were positive for expression of the CD38 antigen (Giorgi et al.: JAIDS 6:904-912, 1993). Using the proportional hazards model, elevated mean fluorescence intensity of CD38 expression on CD8+ cells had prognostic value for development of AIDS that was almost identical to the prognostic value of the percentage of CD8+ cells that were positive for expression of CD38. This prognostic value was in addition to that provided by the patient's CD4+ cell measurement. To our knowledge, this is the first report that a measurement of fluorescence intensity can be used as a prognostic marker in an immunodeficiency disease. Efforts are needed to establish methods that will allow widespread application of this observation in the clinical management of HIV-infected subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / blood*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Antigens, CD / analysis*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / analysis*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / chemistry*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / analysis*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • CD38 protein, human
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1