Dec 4, 2011
i have been positive for the past 7yrs and over the time, i have seen a steady increase in my cd8 levels. the level is currently at 1125 and % is 42. should i be worried. Also is cd8 considered a NK cell? if so, can the rising numbers be reasons behind my repeated miscarriages? Thanks
Response from Dr. Holodniy
Great question. In general, an increase in CD8 lymphocyte count is a natural reaction to HIV infection and is to be expected. The major response to HIV infection is a cytotoxic (CD8) t cell response. The nomenclature for lymphocytes is very confusing. In general, NK cells are a separate kind of lymphocyte (not a t cell per se, which are CD3+ cells) and has different receptors (like CD56). However, there are NK t cells as well. Both the NK and NKT cells can express CD8 and therefore could be theoretically counted in the CD8 pool of cells. The only way to determine whether this CD8 population of cells contains NK cells is to have the NK cells counted specifically. NK cells also have an important function in controlling HIV infection. Although increased NK cells have been associated miscarriage, you would have to be careful about manipulating this cell type, as we don't know what it would do regarding your HIV infection.
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