The Journal of infectious diseases

Monocyte-activation phenotypes are associated with biomarkers of inflammation and coagulation in chronic HIV infection.

PMID 24813472


Soluble biomarkers of inflammation predict non-AIDS related morbidity and mortality among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons. Exploring associations between plasma biomarkers and cellular phenotypes may identify sources of excess inflammation. Plasma biomarkers (interleukin 6 [IL-6] level, D-dimer level, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hsCRP] level, soluble CD14 [sCD14] level, and soluble CD163 [sCD163] level) were measured from cryopreserved samples from the Study to Understand the Natural History of HIV/AIDS in the Era of Effective Therapy (SUN Study). We performed immunophenotyping of peripheral blood mononuclear cells for markers of T-cell and monocyte activation, maturation, and migration. We evaluated associations between cellular phenotypes and soluble biomarkers by Spearman rank correlation and multivariate linear regression. Participants' (n = 670) median age was 41 years, 88% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy, 72% had a plasma HIV RNA load of <400 copies/mL, and the median CD4(+) T-lymphocyte count was 471 cells/µL. After adjustment, CD14(++)CD16(+) monocytes were associated with higher levels of IL-6, hsCRP, and sCD163; associations with IL-6 and hsCRP persisted in persons with suppressed HIV replication. While CCR5(+) monocytes positively associated with D-dimer levels, CCR2(+) monocytes were inversely associated with hsCRP levels. Plasma inflammatory biomarkers that predict morbidity and mortality were strongly associated with monocyte activation and migration, modestly associated with T-cell maturation, and not associated with CD8(+) T-cell activation phenotypes. These findings suggest that strategies to control monocyte activation warrant further investigation.