CCR5 density on T cells directly correlates with HIV disease progression

The number of CCR5 co-receptors expressed on the surface of CD4+ T cells modifies the decline in CD4+ cells in HIV-infected individuals, French investigators report.

Dr. Pierre Corbeau, from Hôpital Saint Eloi in Montpellier, France, and colleagues previously showed that CCR5 density is correlated with HIV load. In a study described in the September 7th issue of AIDS, they investigated the relationship between CCR5 density and disease progression. The CCR5 densities of HIV-infected patients and healthy volunteers was determined.

The CCR5 density on CD4+ T cells was stable over time in HIV-infected patients, the authors state. In a cohort of 25 asymptomatic and non-treated patients, annual CD4+ T cell loss was directly related to the CCR5 density on CD4+ T cells. This finding appeared to be independent of the CCR5 genotype, i.e., the presence or absence of the delta-32 deletion.

Slow disease progressors had significantly lower CCR5 densities than non-slow progressors (p = 0.004) or control subjects (p = 0.002), the researchers note.

“These results are compatible with the hypothesis that CCR5 density, which is a key factor of HIV-1 infectability, determines in vivo HIV production, and thereby the rate of CD4+ cell decline,” the authors note.

Dr. Corbeau’s team believes that “CCR5 density quantitation could be a new valuable prognostic tool in HIV-1 infection.” In addition, “these data emphasize the therapeutic potential of treatments that reduce functional CCR5 density,” the investigators state.


AIDS 2001;15:1627-1634.

Source: Reuters Health

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