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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2005 Aug 1;39(4):381-5.

FOXP3 mRNA levels are decreased in peripheral blood CD4+ lymphocytes from HIV-positive patients.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Immunogénétique Moléculaire, Faculté de Médecine de Rangueil, Toulouse, France.


The impact of HIV infection on regulatory CD4(+)CD25(high) (Treg) lymphocyte subpopulations was evaluated by FOXP3 quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and by flow cytometry. FOXP3 mRNA was quantified in peripheral blood mononuclear cells or purified CD4(+) lymphocytes from HIV(+) lymphopenic patients. Patients were distributed among clinical stages A, B, and C and received highly active antiretroviral therapy. The frequency of CD4(+)CD25(high) lymphocytes, measured by flow cytometry, was decreased in HIV patients (n = 38) compared with the group of uninfected subjects (n = 39). FOXP3 mRNA levels were found decreased in HIV patients (n = 25) compared with controls (n = 17) when expression of CD3gamma or beta-actin but not that of TATA box binding protein 1 was used for data normalization. Our results are compatible with a decrease of the Treg lymphocytes during HIV infection. The consequences of a Treg decrease are discussed in the context of immunologic anomalies observed during HIV infection.

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