Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Read Now: TheBodyPRO.com Covers AIDS 2014
   
Ask the Experts About

Understanding Your LabsUnderstanding Your Labs
           
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


Lab tests to determine qualitative issue about CD4's
Apr 11, 2004

Dear Dr. Holodniy, I have a normal CD4 count >700 and a percentage >40, which I'm told is good. And my VL has never exceeded 5,000 and is often undetectable. Infected 26 months ago.

Still am quite unwell from multiple viral type symptoms. More recently, I also developed angular cheilitis and was told that this can signify a qualitative problem with my CD4 cells. So, the CD4's were tested...cultured with pokeweed mitogen, PHA, Con A, candida and I think environmental antigens. The CD4's did what they were supposed to in those tests. Does that totally rule out a qualitative issue or does the fact that the CD4's performed well against mitogens and antigens still leave room for the possibility that they do not perform well against pathogens such as HIV virus? What other Lab tests can/need be done to ensure that there's no qualitative issue with the CD4's and their capacity to handle the HIV virus? With low to undetectable VL's, these multiple,now chronic, symptoms are weird and I thought that maybe qualitative problems with the T cells might explain this - if so, it could make sense to go on therapy.

Does it make sense that qualitative CD4 problems could explain multiple symptoms despite normal CD4 numbers and, if it does, can you extrapolate from CD4 tests with mitogens and antigens to how the CD4's would behave with viruses such as HIV? Any other tests you would recommend to fully address this issue? (maybe culturing my CD4's with HIV virus and seeing how they would cope?...where could one have that done?).

Thanks so much for your advice and help. Sincerely.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Immune function testing is a bit like the wild west. There is no standardization of these tests, so you get what you pay for. Most of what your cells were tested against are nonspecific immune system stimulants. Antigens like candida, tetanus or mumps are commonly used to test "recall", in other words your immune system memory to things it has been exposed to and should recognize, either because of natural infection or vaccine exposure. Testing for HIV specific immune function is tricky business in the best of research labs. It is not offered as a commercial test for good reason. I would have expected your immune system to react positively to those stimuli given your CD4 count. There could in fact be subtle defects lurking underneath, which cannot be adquately measured and yes this could be contributing to your symptoms. In the not too distant past, we would start people on HIV treatment. Many of these folks had their symptoms go away, which indicated it was probably the virus that was causing them. Most experts today would look at your numbers and say not to start treatment. However, a trial good answer the question for you.



Previous
CD4 Will Never Increase?
Next
How do these T cell subsets compare with the norm?

  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS


 
Advertisement



Q&A TERMS OF USE

This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint

Advertisement