Antiretroviral treatment increases adult thymic volume

Michael Greer, Drug Week

Researchers in Spain found that HAART increases thymus size in adult HIV patients. “An important thymus role has been suggested in T-cell repopulation after HAART in adult HIV-positive patients,” according to A. Rubio and colleagues at the University of Seville and Virgen del Rocio University Hospital in Seville.

The researchers evaluated thymic size in 21 adult HIV patients 12 and 24 weeks after HAART was initiated. They found that HAART significantly improved thymic volume in patients after 24 weeks. The report notes that significant elevations in overall CD4 cell counts and increased production of naive T cells accompanied the increased thymus size. Previous studies had associated increased thymus size and HAART in paediatric patients.

These data show the first evidence of early change in thymic volume of adult HIV-positive patients under HAART,” Rubio and colleagues concluded. “This increase was related to the rise of both total and naive CD4+ cell counts suggesting a functional role of thymic volume increase.”


Rubio A, Martinez-Moya M, Leal M et al. Changes in thymus volume in adult HIV-infected patients under HAART: correlation with the T-cell repopulation. Clin Exp Immunol 2002 Oct;130(1):121-6

Source: CDC NCHSTP Daily Summaries

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