T Cell Distribution in Relation to HIV/HBV/HCV Coinfections and Intravenous Drug Use

Eveli Kallas, Kristi Huik, Silver Türk, Merit Pauskar, Ene Ly Jõgeda, Marina Šunina, Tõnis Karki, Don Des Jarlais, Anneli Uusküla, Radko Avi, Irja Lutsar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intravenous drug use (IDU) is one of the most important transmission routes for blood borne viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). These infections alter the subset distributions of T cells; however, knowledge of such effects during HIV, HBV, and or HCV coinfection is limited. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate any associations between T cell distribution and the presence of HIV, HBV, and HCV coinfections among persons who inject drugs (PWID). Blood samples from 88 Caucasian PWID (mean age 30; 82% male) and 47 age-matched subjects negative for all three infections (mean age of 29; 83% male) were analyzed. The T cell markers CD3, CD4, CD8, CD45RA, CCR7, HLA-DR, and CCR5 were assessed using flow cytometry. Of the PWID, 40% were HIV+HBV+HCV+, 20% HBV+HCV+, 19% HCV+, and 13% negative for all three infections. The HIV+HBV+HCV+ PWID had lower percentages of CD4+ and higher percentages of CD8+ cells compared to triple negative PWID (p < 0.001 in all cases). The only difference between HBV+HCV+ with triple negative PWID was the lower CD4+ cell percentages among the former (52.1% and 58.6%, p = 0.021). Triple negative PWID had higher immune activation and number of CCR5+ cells compared to the controls. We suggest that the altered T cell subset distribution among PWID is mainly triggered by HIV infection and or IDU, while HBV and or HCV seropositivity has minimal additional effects on CD4+ cell distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-470
Number of pages7
JournalViral Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Virology

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