The effect of age on CD4+ T-cell recovery in HIV-suppressed adult participants: a sub-study from AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) A5321 and the Bone Loss and Immune Reconstitution (BLIR) study.


Older age could be a risk factor for suboptimal CD4+ T-cell recovery in HIV-infected patients despite successful viral suppression. However, evaluation of this effect could be confounded by age-related immune processes such as decreased thymus output, increased immune activation and exhaustion. Here, we established a semi-mechanistic population model simultaneously describing naïve and memory CD4+ T-cell trajectories in 122 participants. Covariate analysis accounting for immune activation showed that older age was significantly associated with faster apparent elimination rate of the naïve T-cells. In addition, female sex predicted slower apparent elimination rate of memory T-cells. Simulations showed that the median maximal CD4+ T-cell count on ART treatment was 593 cells/μL (IQR 442-794) in patients aged 50 years or above and 738 cells/μL (IQR 548-1002) in patients aged 18-35 years. The differences in the percentage of subjects achieving sufficient immune reconstitution (CD4+ T-cell count> 500 cells/μL) between the two age groups were 15, 21 and 26% at year 1, 4 years and steady state, respectively, suggesting that advanced age may have a greater impact on long-term CD4+ T-cell recovery.