ObjectivesHIV-infected patients responding to combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) after experiencing severe immunodeficiency may exhibit persistent immune defects and occasionally experience opportunistic infections (OIs) despite increased CD4 T-cell counts. The investigation of immune defects in such patients was examined in this study.MethodsCD4 effector memory T-cell (T-em-cell) function [assessed by blood cytomegalovirus (CMV) interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot-forming cell assay (ELISPOT) counts] and B-cell dysregulation [assessed by serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgE levels] were examined in 27 patients with increased CD4 T-cell counts after receiving ART for over 2 years. Two of these patients and one other had developed OIs on ART and are described in detail.ResultsSerum levels of IgA and IgE were higher than reference intervals (P < 0.001) and CMV IFN-gamma ELISPOT counts were lower than those in non-HIV-infected controls (P < 0.001) in the HIV-infected patients. Low CMV IFN-gamma ELISPOT counts were associated with high IgA levels (r=-0.5, P=0.01, Spearman's correlation test) and segregated with high IgE levels (P=0.06, Fisher's test). CMV IFN-gamma ELISPOT counts and serum IgA and IgE levels did not change significantly over a median time of 35 (range 8-60) months after the first measurement, whereas CD4 T-cell counts increased. All three patients who experienced OIs had repeatedly low CMV IFN-gamma ELISPOT counts and increased serum levels of IgA and/or IgE.ConclusionLow CD4 T-em-cell function and B-cell dysregulation are immune defects that may persist independently of changes in the CD4 T-cell count in HIV-1-infected patients responding to ART and are associated with an increased risk of developing an OI.