The introduction of potent antiretroviral drug regimens contributed to a decline in HIV-1 associated morbidity and mortality. Clinical observations of spontaneous remission of previously untreatable opportunistic infections in subjects on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) reflect the substantial degree of immune reconstitution which can be achieved by those therapies. A biphasic increase of CD4+ T lymphocytes has been reported including naive (CD45RA+) and memory (CD45RO+) cell subsets. Proliferative lymphocyte responses to recall antigens and mitogens are enhanced over time, while T lymphocyte activation is largely reduced and T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires are partly restored. Proliferative lymphocyte responses specific to HIV-1 antigens, in contrast, remain weak. A complete normalisation of HIV-1 associated immunological alterations has not been reported so far, but the observation period of subjects on potent antiretroviral therapies is still relatively short.
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