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I want to better understanding on the terms used
May 17, 2010

I did my usual check up yesterday and got my results. I am postive and not on any meds yet. I go for checks ups every three months and when got to the hospital i found the new equipement had been installed and the way the results are being displayed is different from the print outs I was given which clearly showed the CD4, CD8 and CD3 and %.I was given a report that showed my T lymphs of lymphs (CD3+/CD45+) =83%, T lymph (CD3) =3950, T helpher of lymphs (CD3+CD4)abs = 1034 , t helper % of lumphs (CD+CD4+/CD45) =22% and the lymphocyte = 4774. This is all so confusing and all is was told is to maintain having a healthy diet but seriouly I cant interpret the reult. Please help me understand. Kassy

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for your question. Things can be confusing.

The most important number to follow is the T-helper or CD4 count, this would be the CD3+CD4+ abs which at 1034 is excellent. These letters refer to proteins on the surface of cells in the body that help one cell recognize another. For example all T cells have CD3 on their surface. T-helper cells have CD3 (since they are T cells) and also CD4. So a T-helper cell is CD3+CD4+. T-suppressor cells are CD3+CD8+. The balance between the CD4 and CD8 T cells is the ratio that is often reported. CD45 is expressed on all white blood cells (leukocytes) and can help interepret the test results if there are mixtures of different cell types on the blood test. Usually before a blood test is run for CD4 counts the specimen is treated to separate the lymphocytes from other white blood cells. If that is not done well then the smaple can be mixed with other cells and be hard to interpret. Testing cells for CD45 can help distinguish the CD3+CD4+ cells of interest from other white blood cells. So CD3+/CD45+ tells you that 83% of the white blood cells in the sample were T lymphocytes and the CD3+CD4+/CD45+ tells us that 22% of all the white blood cells were CD4 T-helper cells.

The bottom line is that your T-helper (CD4) count is excellent. Keep up the good work.

Joe



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