Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23056251
Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.pone.0046143
PLoS One 2012 ; 7(10): e46143
T cell activation levels, viral load and CD4(+) T cell counts at early stages of HIV-1 infection are predictive of the rate of progression towards AIDS. We evaluated whether the inflammatory profile during primary HIV-1 infection is predictive of the virological and immunological set-points and of disease progression. We quantified 28 plasma proteins during acute and post-acute HIV-1 infection in individuals with known disease progression profiles. Forty-six untreated patients, enrolled during primary HIV-1 infection, were categorized into rapid progressors, progressors and slow progressors according to their spontaneous progression profile over 42 months of follow-up. Already during primary infection, rapid progressors showed a higher number of increased plasma proteins than progressors or slow progressors. The plasma levels of TGF-β1 and IL-18 in primary HIV-1 infection were both positively associated with T cell activation level at set-point (6 months after acute infection) and together able to predict 74% of the T cell activation variation at set-point. Plasma IP-10 was positively and negatively associated with, respectively, T cell activation and CD4(+) T cell counts at set-point and capable to predict 30% of the CD4(+) T cell count variation at set-point. Moreover, plasma IP-10 levels during primary infection were predictive of rapid progression. In primary infection, IP-10 was an even better predictor of rapid disease progression than viremia or CD4(+) T cell levels at this time point. The superior predictive capacity of IP-10 was confirmed in an independent group of 88 HIV-1 infected individuals. Altogether, this study shows that the inflammatory profile in primary HIV-1 infection is associated with T cell activation levels and CD4(+) T cell counts at set-point. Plasma IP-10 levels were of strong predictive value for rapid disease progression. The data suggest IP-10 being an earlier marker of disease progression than CD4(+) T cell counts or viremia levels.