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The CD4+ T lymphocyte values of HIV-positive and HIV-negative pregnant women in Enugu, South-East, Nigeria

CD4+ T-lymphocytes play a central role in regulation of immune response. Monitoring of CD4+ T lymphocytes is essential in assessing immune suppression and the disease progression of HIV-infected individuals. The estimation of CD4+ T cell counts is used to decide the initiation of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), to monitor the efficacy of ART and to start treatment for Opportunistic Infections (OI’s). Low CD4+ T cell counts are considered to be a marker of the progression of HIV infection and AIDS, and have been called the “hallmark” of HIV infection. Blood samples from patients attending clinic at Mother of Christ Specialist Hospital Enugu, Nigeria were analysed. Flow cytometry was used in the estimation of CD4+ T cell count using dual platform approach and haemoglobin was determined using colorimetric method. One hundred (100) pregnant women comprising of naïve HIV positive (n=50) and HIV negative (n=50), attending ante-natal clinic aged 20-35 years participated in the study. Apparently healthy age and gender-matched non-pregnant women (n=50) served as control. The age distribution of HIV positive women revealed the highest occurrence in age range of 26-30 years. Both the CD4+ T cell count and haemoglobin values of HIV positive and HIV negative pregnant women were significantly decreased (p<0.001; p<0.05) when compared with the control. The CD4+ T cell count according to gestational age revealed significant decrease (p<0.01; p<0.05) in CD4+ T cell count of HIV positive and negative women respectively. The haemoglobin levels according to gestational age showed a significant decrease (p<0.05) in haemoglobin level of HIV positive pregnant women when compared with the control. This indicates reduction in CD4+ T cell count and haemoglobin level during pregnancy irrespective of the HIV status.

Author(s): Silas A Ufelle, Kenechukwu C Onyekwelu, Richard C Ezeh, Joy E Ikekpeazu, Daniel M Ibegbu