Immune Reconstitution During the First Year of Antiretroviral Therapy of HIV-1-Infected Adults in Rural Burkina Faso

Fabrice Tiba1, Frans Nauwelaers2, Siaka Traoré3, Boubacar Coulibaly3, Thierry Ouedraogo3, Adama Compaoré3, Hans-Georg Kräusslich1, §, Thomas Böhler*, 1, §
1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Virology, University of Heidelberg, INF324, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2 BD Biosciences, Erembodegem, Belgium
3 Centre de Recherche en Santé de Nouna, Nouna, Burkina Faso

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© Tiba et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Virology, University of Heidelberg, INF324, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany; Tel: +49-6221 565002; Fax: +49-6221 565003; E-mail:
§ These authors contributed equally to this work


There are no data on the outcome of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-infected adults in rural Burkina Faso. We therefore assessed CD4+ T-cell counts and HIV-1 plasma viral load (VL), the proportion of naive T-cells (co-expressing CCR7 and CD45RA) and T-cell activation (expression of CD95 or CD38) in 61 previously untreated adult patients from Nouna, Burkina Faso, at baseline and 2 weeks, 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after starting therapy. Median CD4+ T-cell counts increased from 174 (10th-90th percentile: 33-314) cells/µl at baseline to 300 (114- 505) cells/µl after 3 months and 360 (169-562) cells/µl after 12 months of HAART. Median VL decreased from 5.8 (4.6- 6.6) log10 copies/ml at baseline to 1.6 (1.6-2.3) log10 copies/ml after 12 months. Early CD4+ T-cell recovery was accompanied by a reduction of the expression levels of CD95 and CD38 on T-cells. Out of 42 patients with complete virological follow-up under HAART, 19 (45%) achieved concordant good immunological (gain of ≥100 CD4+ T-cells/µl above baseline) and virological (undetectable VL) responses after 12 months of treatment (intention-to-treat analysis). Neither a decreased expression of the T-cell activation markers CD38 and CD95, nor an increase in the percentage of naive T-cells reliably predicted good virological treatment responses in patients with good CD4+ T-cell reconstitution. Repeated measurement of CD4+ T-cell counts during HAART remains the most important parameter for immunologic monitoring. Substitution of repeated VL testing by determination of T-cell activation levels (e.g., CD38 expression on CD8+ T-cells) should be applied with caution.

Keywords: Africa, CD95, HAART, HIV, T-cell activation..