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Background: Among HIV-positive individuals, increased levels of inflammation and immune activation persist even in the setting of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) and are associated with greater rates of non-AIDS events. The etiology of this persistent inflammation is incompletely understood.
Methods: Using a well-characterized cohort of 322 HIV-infected individuals on suppressive ART, we conducted a case-control study. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels, plasma biomarkers, and T-cell phenotypes were measured/characterized from samples collected 1 year after ART initiation. Conditional logistic regression for matched case-control studies analyzed the associations of year 1 CMV-specific IgG level with the subsequent occurrence of any non-AIDS event. Correlations between continuous CMV IgG antibody levels and soluble and cellular markers were assessed.
Results: We found that higher levels of CMV IgG were associated with increased risk of non-AIDS events (OR = 1.58 per IQR [95% CI: 1.12, 2.24], P = 0.01) and with elevated soluble and cellular markers of inflammation.
Conclusions: The magnitude of the host immune response to CMV may play a role in the persistent inflammation and resultant morbid events observed in the HIV-positive population.
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