Study in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses found that increase in CD163+/CD16+ is inversely proportional to the number of CD4+ T cells in patients with a count of less than 450 cells per µL.

An increase in the CD163+/CD16+ monocyte subset could be a biomarker for the progression of HIV disease, according to scientists at Temple University. 

The researchers examined a cohort of 18 patients from the Comprehensive HIV Program at Temple University Hospital and seven individuals without HIV infection.

“At first, we were just looking at whether or not we saw alterations in this CD163+/CD16+ subset and whether it might be reflective of the amount of virus they have in circulation,” notes Tracy Fischer-Smith, Ph.D., an associate scientist in Temple’s neuroscience department and the study’s lead author. “We did, indeed, find that patients with detectable virus had an increase of this monocyte subset that correlated with the amount of virus they had in their blood.

“We were surprised to find that in patients with CD4+ T-cell counts of less than 450 cells per microliter, the increase of this monocyte subset correlates inversely with the number of T cells.”

The scientists believe that the CD163+/CD16+ monocyte subset is the first biomarker that correlates with viral load and CD4+ count. The researchers plan to expand this study by following a cohort of patients longitudinally.

The investigators reported their findings in the March issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.

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