The impact of cirrhosis on CD4+ T cell counts in HIV-seronegative patients

Barbara H. McGovern, Yoav Golan, Marvin Lopez, Daniel Pratt, Angela Lawton, Grayson Moore, Mark Epstein, Tamsin A. Knox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Studies of the progression liver fibrosis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients suggest that cirrhosis is associated with immunosuppression, as measured by low absolute CD4+ T cell counts. However, we hypothesized that, in patients with advanced liver disease, low CD4+ T cell counts may occur secondary to portal hypertension and splenic sequestration, regardless of the presence or absence of HIV infection. Methods. Sixty HIV-seronegative outpatients with cirrhosis were enrolled during the period 2001-2003 in a prospective, cross-sectional study of the association between liver disease and CD4 + T cell counts and percentages. Demographic characteristics, liver disease-related characteristics, and laboratory results-including CD4 + T cell parameters-were collected. Results. A total of 39 patients (65%) had a low CD4+ T cell count; 26 patients (43%) and 4 patients (7%) had CD4+ T cell counts <350 and <200 cells/mm3, respectively. Abnormal CD4+ T cell counts were associated with splenomegaly (P = .03), thrombocytopenia (P = .002), and leukopenia (P < .001). The percentage of CD4+ T cells was normal in 95% of patients who had a low absolute CD4+ T cell count. CD4+ T cell counts were significantly lower among cirrhotic patients than among 7638 HIV-seronegative historic control subjects without liver disease. Conclusions. Cirrhosis is associated with low CD4+ T cell counts in the absence of HIV infection. Discordance between low absolute CD4+ T cell counts and normal CD4+ T cell percentages may be attributable to portal hypertension and splenic sequestration. Our findings have significant implications for the use and interpretation of absolute CD4+ T cell counts in HIV-infected patients with advanced liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-437
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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