Hemorheologic abnormalities associated with HIV infection: Altered erythrocyte aggregation and deformability

Alisa Kim, Hajir Dadgostar, Gary N. Holland, Rosalinda Wenby, Fei Yu, Brian G. Terry, Herbert J. Meiselman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To investigate possible alterations of erythrocyte aggregation and deformability, which are factors that can influence blood flow, in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals and to determine whether these factors are related to the severity of immunodeficiency. METHODS. Laboratory evaluations were performed on 46 HIV-infected individuals and 44 HIV-negative control subjects. Current and nadir (lowest previous) CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts were identified for each subject. Erythrocyte aggregation was measured using a fully automatic erythrocyte aggregometer. Factors related to erythrocyte aggregation were also determined: erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), zeta sedimentation ratio (ZSR), and plasma fibrinogen levels. Erythrocyte deformability was observed at various fluid shear stress levels, with a laser diffraction ektacytometer. Correlations were sought between each of these measures and current or nadir CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts, and each measure was compared between three subgroups based on current and nadir CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts (severely immunosuppressed, immune reconstituted, never severely immunosuppressed). RESULTS. The following parameters were significantly different between HIV-infected subjects and controls: increased erythrocyte aggregation, at stasis (P < 0.001) and low shear stress (P < 0.001), increased ESR (P < 0.001), increased ZSR (P < 0.028), increased serum abrinogen (P = 0.015), and decreased erythrocyte deformability (P < 0.001). Only erythrocyte aggregation at stasis correlated significantly with current CD4+ T-lymphocyte count (r = - 0.344, P = 0.022). None of the parameters was significantly different between HIV-infected subgroups. CONCLUSIONS. Increased aggregation and decreased deformability of erythrocytes are associated with HIV-infection regardless of the severity of immunodeficiency. HIV-infected individuals may be at risk for progressive retinal microvascular damage from persistent hemorheologic abnormalities, despite immune reconstitution associated with potent antiretroviral drug therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3927-3932
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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