Visceral leishmaniasis as an independent cause of high immune activation, T-cell senescence, and lack of immune recovery in virologically suppressed HIV-1-coinfected patients.


Journal Article

Different immune alterations have been described in HIV-infected patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL). We aimed to identify the immunological factors involved in the lack of immunological recovery and VL relapses in HIV-infected patients with VL, by comparison with other HIV-infected patients.We carried out a cross-sectional study of 55 patients receiving suppressive combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) for at least 1 year: nine with previous relapsing VL, 20 with an immunodiscordant response (IDR) to cART (CD4 count < 200 cells/μL) and no previous VL, and 26 with a concordant response (CR) to cART (CD4 count > 350 cells/μL) without VL. Immunosenescence was investigated by analysing CD57(+) CD28(-) levels, immune activation by analysing CD38(+) HLA-DR(+) levels, inflammation by analysing interleukin (IL)-6 levels, and microbial translocation by analysing lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and soluble CD14 (sCD14) levels.In VL patients, the median time since VL diagnosis was 42 months, and all patients had had at least one relapse despite suppressive cART for a median time of 43 months. Patients with previously diagnosed VL had a higher CD8 T-cell activation level (P < 0.001) than those with IDR. Also, levels of IL-6, LPS and especially sCD14, associated with bacterial translocation and additional monocyte activation, were significantly increased in patients with previous VL compared with patients with IDR (P = 0.048, P = 0.049 and P < 0.001, respectively). In addition, patients with previous VL had higher levels of CD8 T-cell senescence. Notably, the levels of immune activation and inflammation in patients with previous VL were not related to the time of VL diagnosis, the number of VL relapses, or hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection.Our data demonstrate that VL patients had an even worse immunological status than patients with IDR, which was probably associated with increased microbial translocation and additional monocyte/macrophage activation. These data explain the observed lack of immunological recovery and the occurrence of VL relapses in HIV-infected patients with previous VL.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Casado, JL; Abad-Fernández, M; Moreno, S; Pérez-Elías, MJ; Moreno, A; Bernardino, JI; Vallejo, A

Published Date

  • April 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 240 - 248

PubMed ID

  • 25604328

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25604328

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-1293

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1464-2662

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/hiv.12206


  • eng