Modulation of Regulatory T-Cell Subsets in Very Long-Term Treated Aviremic HIV+ Patients and Untreated Viremic Patients

Federico Serana 1, Marco Chiarini 1, Eugenia Quiros-Roldan 2, Daria Gotti 2, Cinzia Zanotti 1, Alessandra Sottini 1, Diego Bertoli 1, Luigi Caimi 1, Luisa Imberti*, 1
1 Laboratory of Biotechnology, Diagnostics Department, Spedali Civili of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
2 Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy

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© Serana 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 Biotechnology Laboratory, Diagnostics Department, Spedali Civili of Brescia, P.le Spedali Civili 1, Brescia, 25123, Italy; Tel: +390303995408; Fax: +390303995095; E-mail:


Naïve, central- and effector-like memory regulatory T cells (Tregs) were evaluated in untreated and long-term antiretroviral-treated HIV+ patients that showed comparable CD4+ cell levels, while being, respectively, viremic and aviremic. In the untreated patients, the percentage of naïve-like Tregs was significantly increased to the detriment of central memory regulatory T cells. This redistribution of regulatory Treg subsets may contribute to explain the partially preserved CD4+ cell counts seen in these patients despite the ongoing viremia. On the contrary, in the long-term treated patients, the percentages of Treg subsets were similar to those of healthy donors, demonstrating a restored Treg homeostasis. The characterization of Treg subsets, rather than an evaluation of the total Treg population, may lead to a deeper understanding of the Treg role in HIV infection and therapy.

Keywords: HIV, regulatory T cells, combined antiretroviral therapy..