Gender differences in lymphocyte populations, plasma HIV RNA levels, and disease progression in a cohort of children born to women infected with HIV

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Department of Pediatrics

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Child; Child, Preschool; Cohort Studies; Disease Progression; Ethnic Groups; Female; HIV Infections; Humans; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical; Lymphocyte Count; Lymphocyte Subsets; Male; Multivariate Analysis; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications, Infectious; RNA, Viral; Sex Factors


Immunology and Infectious Disease | Pediatrics


OBJECTIVE: We sought to document gender differences in lymphocyte subsets and plasma RNA levels in a pediatric cohort with presumed minimal hormonal differences (on the basis of age).

METHODS: Blood samples from antiretroviral therapy-treated, HIV-infected children (n = 158) and HIV-uninfected children (n = 1801) who were enrolled in the Women and Infants Transmission Study were analyzed at specified study intervals with consensus protocols, and various parameters were compared.

RESULTS: Antiretroviral therapy-treated, HIV-infected female children had, on average, 0.38 log10 copies per mL lower plasma RNA levels than did their male counterparts, but lymphocyte differences were not noted in this cohort. Despite their higher plasma RNA level, a greater proportion of male children survived through 8 years of age. There were no gender differences with respect to the age of diagnosis of HIV, time to antiretroviral therapy after diagnosis of HIV, or type of antiretroviral therapy. Lymphocyte differences were noted for uninfected children.

CONCLUSIONS: Plasma RNA levels differed among antiretroviral therapy-treated, HIV-infected children according to gender, in a manner similar to that noted in previous pediatric and adult studies. Lymphocyte subsets varied according to gender in a cohort of HIV-exposed but uninfected children. Most importantly, overall mortality rates for this cohort differed according to gender.

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Pediatrics. 2006 Jul;118(1):146-55. Link to article on publisher's site

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