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PROBLEM: We investigated leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets in HIV-infected or HIV-uninfected, pregnant or non-pregnant Malawian women to explore whether HIV infection and pregnancy may act synergistically to impair cellular immunity. METHOD OF STUDY: We recruited 54 pregnant and 48 non-pregnant HIV-uninfected women and 24 pregnant and 20 non-pregnant HIV-infected Malawian women. We compared peripheral blood leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets between women in the four groups. RESULTS: Parturient HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women had more neutrophils (each P<.0001), but fewer lymphocytes (P<.0001; P=.0014) than non-pregnant women. Both groups had fewer total T cells (P<.0001; P=.002) and CD8+ T cells (P<.0001; P=.014) than non-pregnant women. HIV-uninfected parturient women had fewer CD4+ and γδ T cells, B and NK cells (each P<.0001) than non-pregnant women. Lymphocyte subset percentages were not affected by pregnancy. CONCLUSION: Malawian women at parturition have an increased total white cell count due to neutrophilia and an HIV-unrelated pan-lymphopenia.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Reprod Immunol

Publication Date





HIV, leukocytes, lymphocytes, parturition, pregnancy, sepsis, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Female, HIV, HIV Infections, Humans, Immunity, Cellular, Immunophenotyping, Lymphocyte Count, Lymphocyte Subsets, Malawi, Middle Aged, Parturition, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta, Sepsis, Young Adult