Hepatic fibrosis and immune phenotype vary by HCV viremia in HCV/HIV co-infected subjects: A Women's interagency HIV study

Seema N. Desai, Jennifer L. Dodge, Alan L. Landay, Marshall J. Glesby, Patricia S. Latham, Maria C. Villacres, Audrey L. French, Stephen J. Gange, Ruth M. Greenblatt, Marion G. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HCV and HIV independently lead to immune dysregulation. The mechanisms leading to advanced liver disease progression in HCV/HIV coinfected subjects remain unclear. In this cross-sectional study, we assessed the association of HCV viremia, liver fibrosis, and immune response patterns in well-characterized HIV phenotypes: Elite controllers (Elites), HIV controlled (ARTc), and HIV uncontrolled (ARTuc) matched by age and race. Groups were stratified by HCV RNA status. Regulatory T-cell frequencies, T-cell activation (HLADR+CD38+), apoptosis (Caspase-3+), and intracellular cytokines (interferon-γ, IL-2, IL-17) were assessed using multiparametric flow-cytometry. Liver fibrosis was scored by AST to platelet ratio index (APRI). We found liver fibrosis (APRI) was 50% lower in Elites and ARTc compared to ARTuc. Higher liver fibrosis was associated with significantly low CD4+ T cell counts (P < 0.001, coefficient r = -0.463). Immune activation varied by HIV phenotype but was not modified by HCV viremia. HCV viremia was associated with elevated CD8 T-cell Caspase-3 in Elites, ARTuc, and HIV- except ARTc. CD8 T-cell Caspase-3 levels were significantly higher in HCV RNA+ Elites (P = 0.04) and ARTuc (P = 0.001) and HIV- groups (P = 0.02) than ARTc. Importantly, ARTuc HCV RNA+ had significantly higher CD4 T-cell interleukin-17 levels than ARTuc HCV RNA- (P = 0.005). HIV control was associated with lower liver fibrosis in HCV/HIV co-infected women. HCV viremia is associated with an inflammatory CD4 TH-17 phenotype in absence of HIV control and higher frequency of pro-apoptosis CD8 T-cells critical to avert progression of HIV and HCV disease that is attenuated in ART controllers. Elite controllers with HCV viremia are more prone to CD8 T-cell apoptosis than ART controllers, which could have negative consequences over time, highlighting the importance of ART control in HCV/HIV coinfected individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20104
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • antiretroviral therapy
  • apoptosis
  • elite controllers
  • hepatic fibrosis
  • immune activation
  • TH-17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic fibrosis and immune phenotype vary by HCV viremia in HCV/HIV co-infected subjects: A Women's interagency HIV study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this