Systemic biomarkers of inflammation, including cytokines and chemokines, are potentially
useful in the management of both HIV infection and non-AIDS-defining disorders.
However, relatively little is known about the utility of measurement of circulating
biomarkers of platelet activation as a strategy to monitor the efficacy of combination
antiretroviral therapy (cART), as well as the persistence of systemic inflammation following
virally-suppressive therapy in HIV-infected persons. These issues have been addressed in
the current study to which a cohort consisting of 199 HIV-infected participants was
recruited, 100 of whom were cART-naïve and the remainder cART-treated and virallysuppressed.
Fifteen healthy control participants were included for comparison. The study
focused on the effects of cART on the responsiveness of three biomarkers of platelet
activation, specifically soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), sCD62P (P-selectin), and plateletderived
growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB), measured using multiplex suspension bead array
technology. Most prominently sCD40L in particular, as well as sCD62P, were significantly
elevated in the cART-naïve group relative to both the cART-treated and healthy control
groups. However, levels of PDGF-BB were of comparable magnitude in both the cARTnaïve
and –treated groups, and significantly higher than those of the control group.
Although remaining somewhat higher in the virally-suppressed group relative to healthy
control participants, these findings identify sCD40L, in particular, as a potential biomarker
of successful cART, while PDGF-BB may be indicative of persistent low-level antigenemia.