The relationship of thymulin activity, immune parameters of HIV disease progression and substance use in a cohort of HIV seropositive alcohol and drug users
Zinc is essential for the activity of thymulin, a thymic hormone involved in T-lymphocyte differentiation and activation. Zinc deficiency is widespread in populations with HIV infection, and HIV+ drug users are particularly susceptible to zinc deficiency and immune suppression. This dissertation explored the relationship of zinc-bound active thymulin to plasma zinc, CD4+ and CD8+ cell count, the CD4+/CD8+ ratio, and drug use in HIV-infected drug users. ^ Zinc-bound active thymulin was assessed in plasma of HIV+ drug users who were participating in a 30 month zinc supplementation trial. Plasma from 80 participants at the 12 month visit, and 40 of these same participants, randomly selected, at the baseline visit were assessed for zinc-bound active thymulin levels using a modification of the rosette inhibition assay. Thymulin activity was directly associated with CD4+ cell count (β = 0.127, p = 0.002) and inversely associated with cocaine use (β = −0.908, p = 0.026; R2 = 0.188, p = 0.019) independent of HIV viral load, age, gender and antiretroviral use. An increase in thymulin activity was 1.4 times more likely when CD4+ cell count increased (OR = 1.402, 95%CI: 1.006–1.956), independent of change in viral load, antiretroviral use, and age. Participants who used cocaine consistently, were 7.6 times less likely to have an increase in thymulin activity (OR = 0.133, 95%CI: 0.017–1.061). There was a direct correlation between change in plasma zinc and change in zinc-bound active thymulin (r = 0.243, p = 0.13). Analysis of CD4+ cell count decline in 222 participants in the zinc supplementation trial across the 30 months showed that both crack cocaine use and heavy alcohol use accelerated CD4+ cell count decline. ^ Thymulin activity is directly associated with HIV disease progression, measured by CD4+ cell count, and is depressed with cocaine use independent of antiretroviral use and HIV viral load. Cocaine and heavy alcohol accelerate CD4+ cell count decline. The effect of cocaine on thymic output requires further evaluation as a mechanism for the association of cocaine use with faster HIV disease progression. ^
Health Sciences, Nutrition|Health Sciences, Public Health|Health Sciences, Immunology
"The relationship of thymulin activity, immune parameters of HIV disease progression and substance use in a cohort of HIV seropositive alcohol and drug users"
(January 1, 2009).
ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU.