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HIV Med. 2001 Jul;2(3):146-53.

Detection and quantification of HIV-1 specific CD4 helper and CD8 cytotoxic cells: their role in HIV-1-infected individuals and vaccine recipients.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK.


There is a strong link between virus specific CD8 T-cell function and the efficiency of regulatory CD4 helper T cells. Controlling viraemia in HIV-1-infected individuals requires the maintenance of strong CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses. These responses should be elicited by prophylactic vaccination and by postexposure immunotherapy. This review will examine the methods that are available for the detection and quantification of HIV-1 specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses. We will also discuss the methods that should be used to identify these responses in HIV-1-infected individuals, seropositive recipients of immunotherapy and seronegative vaccinees. Finally, we will give examples of how responses observed in vitro relate to those known to occur in vivo.

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