Over-expression of CD8+ T-cell activation is associated with decreased CD4+ cells in patients seeking treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder

Paola Zuluaga, Arantza Sanvisens, Eva Martínez-Cáceres, Aina Teniente, Jordi Tor, Robert Muga

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3 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Introduction Harmful alcohol consumption may have an impact on the adaptive immune system through an imbalance in T cell subpopulations and changes in cell activation. We aimed to analyze profiles of CD4 and CD8 T cell activation in patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Methods We used a cross-sectional study with patients seeking treatment of the disorder. Blood samples for immunophenotyping were obtained at admission. Profiles of T cell activation were defined: (I) CD38+/HLA-DR+, (II) CD38+/HLA-DR−, (III) CD38−/HLA-DR+, (IV) CD38−/HLA-DR− and compared with healthy controls. We calculated a CD8+ T cell activation indicator (AI) that was defined as the quotient of non-activated cells (CD38−/HLA-DR−) and activated cells (CD38+/HLA-DR+). Results 60 patients were eligible (83% M); median age was 49 years [IQR: 44–54] and alcohol consumption was 145 g/day [IQR: 90–205]. Mean ± SD of CD38+/HLA-DR− was 50.3 ± 50.6 cells/μL in patients and 33.5 ± 24.5 cells/μL in controls (p = 0.03), for the CD38−/HLA-DR+ it was 61 ± 62.2 cells/μL in patients and 21.2 ± 17.3 cells/μL in controls (p < 0.001) and for the CD38+/HLA-DR+ it was 20.2 ± 15.6 cells/μL in patients and 10.8 ± 10.3 cells/μL in controls (p < 0.001). In patients, an inverse correlation was observed between absolute number and percentage of CD4+ T cells, and the percentage of CD38+/HLA-DR+CD8+ T cells (r = 0.37, p = 0.003; r = 0.2, p = 0.086, respectively). Conclusions Patients with AUD have an increased expression of immune activation with respect to healthy individuals. This excess of activated CD8+ T cells correlates with the absolute CD4+ T cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • CD4 T cell +
  • CD8 T cell +
  • Immunophenotyping
  • T cell activation


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