Hepatitis C infection on immune recovery in HIV-positive patients on successful HAART: the role of genotype 3

Elena Seminari, Carmine Tinelli, Giovanni Ravasi, Diego Ripamonti, Nicoletta Ladisa, Nicoletta Marino, Laura Sighinolfi, Placido Mondello, Marco Migliorino, Giampiero Carosi, Renato Maserati
Current HIV Research 2010, 8 (3): 186-93

OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this study was to investigate the impact of HCV infection and of HCV genotypes on immune restoration in HIV-infected patients on a successful HAART regimen.

METHODS: Patients from the MASTER Study were included in this current longitudinal study if they met the following criteria: being on any successful HAART, availability of CD4+ cell count and HIV RNA level before starting the suppressive HAART and 12 months after suppressive therapy, availability of HCV antibodies. The primary endpoints of the study were defined as achieving a difference above 100 cell/mmc between CD4+ at baseline and at time of HIV RNA suppression while on therapy (DeltaCD4+early), or 12 month after a suppressive therapy (DeltaCD4+late).

RESULTS: 844 HIV-positive patients were included in the analysis: 673 were HCV-negative and 171 were HCV-positive [92 (53.8%) subjects had HCV genotype 1; 58 (33.9%), genotype 3; 21 (12.3%), genotype 4]. Plasma HIV RNA (both baseline as highest value), nadir CD4+, being naïve, time to reach undetectable plasma HIV RNA, treatment with PI vs NNRTI were associated with an early immunological recovery; the occurrence of previous AIDS event, a history of injection drug use, and HCV infection were associated with failure to achieve an early immunological recovery. Variables associated with DeltaCD4+late immune recovery were baseline CD4+ value, plasma HIV RNA (both baseline as highest value), being naïve and time to reach undetectable plasma HIV RNA. HCV infection per se was not associated with a worse probability to reach late immunologic response, although among HCV infected patients, having a genotype 3 was associated with a worse immune recovery. At multivariable analysis, factors that remained associated with failure to achieve an early immunological response were being HCV infected and history of injection drug use, while those associated with a failure to achieve a late immunological response were being infected with HCV genotype 3 and older age.

CONCLUSIONS: A blunted early immune recovery was observed in HCV infected patients, compared with HCV negative subjects, while late immune recovery was not different among HCV infected as a whole and not infected subjects; only the subgroup of subjects infected with genotype 3 showed an impaired late immune recovery.

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