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J Immunol. 2002 Mar 1;168(5):2247-54.

HIV antigens can induce TGF-beta(1)-producing immunoregulatory CD8+ T cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC 27599, USA.


HIV-infected individuals may progressively lose both HIV-specific and unrelated CTL responses despite the high number of circulating CD8+ T cells. In this study, we report that approximately 25% of HIV+ donors produced TGF-beta(1) in response to stimulation with HIV proteins or peptides. The production of TGF-beta(1) was sufficient to significantly reduce the IFN-gamma response of CD8+ cells to both HIV and vaccinia virus proteins. Ab to TGF-beta reversed the suppression. We found the source of the TGF-beta(1) to be predominantly CD8+ cells. Different peptide pools stimulated TGF-beta(1) and IFN-gamma in the same individual. The TGF-beta(1) secreting cells have distinct peptide specificity from the IFN-gamma producing cells. This represents an important mechanism by which an HIV-specific response can nonspecifically suppress both HIV-specific and unrelated immune responses.

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