T cell activation predicts carotid artery stiffness among HIV-infected women

Robert C. Kaplan, Elizabeth Sinclair, Alan L. Landay, Nell Lurain, A. Richey Sharrett, Stephen J. Gange, Xiaonan Xue, Christina M. Parrinello, Peter Hunt, Steven G. Deeks, Howard N. Hodis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: HIV disease is associated with increased arterial stiffness, which may be related to inflammation provoked by HIV-related immune perturbation. We assessed the association of T cell markers of immune activation and immunosenescence with carotid artery stiffness among HIV-infected women. Methods: Among 114 HIV-infected and 43 HIV-uninfected women, we measured CD4+ and CD8+ T cell populations expressing activation (CD38+HLA-DR+) and senescence (CD28-CD57+) markers. We then related these measures of immune status with parameters of carotid artery stiffness, including decreased distensibility, and increased Young's elastic modulus, as assessed by B-mode ultrasound. Results: HIV infection was associated with increased CD4+ T cell activation, CD8+ T cell activation and CD8+ T cell senescence. Among HIV-infected women, adjusted for age, HIV medications, and vascular risk factors, higher CD4+CD38+HLA-DR+ T cell frequency was associated with decreased carotid artery distensibility (β= -2.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -3.86, -0.14, P= 0.04) and increased Young's modulus (β= 1.00, 95% CI = 0.03, 1.97, P= 0.04). These associations were affected little by further adjustment for CD4+ T cell count and viral load. Among HIV-infected women, higher frequencies of immunosenescent T cells, including CD4+CD28-CD57+ and CD8+CD28-CD57+ T cells, were also associated with decreased arterial distensibility. Among HIV-uninfected women, frequencies of activated or senescent T cells were not significantly associated with measures of carotid stiffness. Discussion: T cell activation and senescence are associated with arterial stiffness, suggesting that pro-inflammatory populations of T cells may produce functional or structural vascular changes in HIV-infected women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-213
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • HIV
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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