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Increased polymorphonuclear leucocyte rigidity in HIV infected individuals


AIM Individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were evaluated for evidence of abnormal polymorphonuclear leucocyte (PMN) rigidity, which can alter capillary blood flow.

METHODS The transit time of individual PMN through 8 μm pores in a cell transit analyser was used as a measure of cell rigidity. PMN transit time was compared between HIV infected individuals (n=45) with and without CMV retinitis and HIV negative controls (n=17).

RESULTS Transit times were longer for PMN from HIV infected individuals than for PMN from controls (p<0.001). PMN from HIV infected individuals with CMV retinitis (n=13) had longer transit times than PMN from those without CMV retinitis (n=32, p<0.001). Transit times were longer in HIV infected individuals with lower CD4+ T lymphocyte counts (p<0.001). Regression analysis indicated that the relation between transit times and the presence of CMV retinitis could not be explained solely on the basis of low CD4+ T lymphocytes. In HIV infected individuals, mean transit time was not correlated with age, blood pressure, or serum creatinine, cholesterol, or triglycerides.

CONCLUSIONS HIV infected individuals appear to have increased PMN rigidity, a cellular change that might be involved in the pathogenesis of HIV related retinal microvasculopathy. PMN rigidity appears to be related to severity of immune dysfunction. PMN rigidity may remain high in patients with CMV retinitis after elevations of CD4+ T lymphocyte counts that result from potent antiretroviral therapy.

  • polymorphonuclear leucocyte
  • HIV
  • capillary blood flow

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  • Presented in part at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA 14 May 1997.

    Supported in part by Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc, New York (GNH), National Institutes of Health Research Grants EY08057 and AI27660 (GNH), HL15722 and HL48484 (HJM), and AI42852 (WGC). Dr Holland is a recipient of a Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc Lew R Wasserman merit award.

    Proprietary interests: none.