HIV attacks a specific type of immune system cell such as CD4 helper cell or T cell in the body. Also, natural killer (NK) cells play a key role in immune response against HIV infection. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the variation of T/NK cells in HIV positive adults by flow cytometry and its correlation to disease status.
Method: A total of 100 HIV positive cases >18 years of age diagnosed as per National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) guidelines were included. The data was collected from patients regarding demographic profile, clinical spectrum and T/NK cells parameters.
Results: WHO staging of patients showed that maximum patients belong to Stage III (33%) followed by Stage II (29%), Stage I (27%) and Stage IV (11%). Majority of patients had lower CD4 count <350 (39%). Mean CD4 and CD8 count was 423.81±320.17cells/µl and 1090.58±723.03cells/µl respectively. The mean CD4/CD8 ratio was 0.56±0.41. Mean NK cells were 234.23±121.67 cells/µl. The association of HIV staging and CD4 count showed that patients with CD4 count <200 were more in Stage III, which was statistically significant, (P<0.05). Patients in Stag IV had lower NK cells (136.76±98.21) compared to Stage I (523.12±231.76) showed statistically significant difference, (P<0.05). CD4 cells showed statistically significant positive relation with NK cells, hemoglobin, TLC, neutrophils, lymphocyte, platelets, MCV and MCHC, (P<0.05).
Conclusion: The findings of present study, reveal that activation levels of NK cells are elevated and coordinated in HIV infections. Additionally, elevated NK cells are associated with reduced CD4+ T cell percentages and higher viral loads, in a HIV infection.