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Research question
Jul 8, 2008

Im currently doing some research on the possibility of T-cell transplantation and I stumbled upon this Question dated 10/9/07;

Well I found out why I was so tired all the time the last time I was in the hospital and my white and red blood counts were really bad. My t-cell count was 3. They gave me 5 units of blood in one week and nupagen. After starting me on new HIV meds for only 2 days they did new labs and my t-cell was 90. They know the meds could not have done this yet. So my question is can blood transfusions raise your t-cell count and if so could that be something to help those who have a really low one until their counts rise?

You had given this answer;

Blood transfusions do not raise T-cell counts and are not considered to be an anti-HIV therapy. However, blood transfusions can be lifesaving for those with severe anemia (low red blood cell count, low hemoglobin). Good luck with your new regimen.

However, your answer did not quite fulfill my appetite to the reasoning of why this cant be possible, if T-cells are present in blood drawn for testing for an estimated T-cell count, then it must be true that the T-cells are found to be present in blood during a Donation session? And/or if there is a reason that the T-cells perhaps die off in storage, why cant the blood be treated like organ tissue, and made available for an immediate exchange transfusion in critical lifesaving situation? Provided, that the healthy blood donor is pre-screened for a match and any ill conditions that may be present in the blood.

Thank you, Carl

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Carl,

"Blood transfusions" generally refer to transfusions of packed red blood cells. CD4 cells are T-cells, which in turn are a type of lymphocyte. Lymphocytes are a type of white (as opposed to red) blood cell. There are several reasons the T-cell count could have increased in the post you referenced. The most likely would be related to the use of neupogen. Neupogen stimulates the production of white blood cells. This could indirectly account for some of the increase. Also there is considerable day-to-day, and even intraday, variability in absolute CD4 counts. At any rate, my comments about red blood cell transfusions remain accurate as stated.

Dr. Bob

HIV Traveler
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