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J Virol. 2008 Sep;82(17):8812-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00204-08. Epub 2008 Jun 25.

Magnitude and quality of vaccine-elicited T-cell responses in the control of immunodeficiency virus replication in rhesus monkeys.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Viral Pathogenesis, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


While a diversity of immunogens that elicit qualitatively different cellular immune responses are being assessed in clinical human immunodeficiency virus vaccine trials, the consequences of those varied responses for viral control remain poorly understood. In the present study, we evaluated the induction of virus-specific T-cell responses in rhesus monkeys using a series of diverse vaccine vectors. We assessed both the magnitude and the functional profile of the virus-specific CD8(+) T cells by measuring gamma interferon, interleukin-2, and tumor necrosis factor alpha production. We found that the different vectors generated virus-specific T-cell responses of different magnitudes and with different functional profiles. Heterologous prime-boost vaccine regimens induced particularly high-frequency virus-specific T-cell responses with polyfunctional repertoires. Yet, immediately after a pathogenic simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) challenge, no significant differences were observed between these cohorts of vaccinated monkeys in the magnitudes or the functional profiles of their virus-specific CD8(+) T cells. This finding suggests that the high viral load shapes the functional repertoire of the cellular immune response during primary infection. Nevertheless, in all vaccination regimens, higher frequency and more polyfunctional vaccine-elicited virus-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses were associated with better viral control after SHIV challenge. These observations highlight the contributions of both the quality and the magnitude of vaccine-elicited cellular immune responses in the control of immunodeficiency virus replication.

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