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Hum Immunol. 2000 Jan;61(1):74-81.

HLA-class I-specific inhibitory receptors in HIV-1 infection.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genova, Italy.


One of the most characteristic and, at the same time, puzzling features of the cellular immune response towards HIV-1 is represented by an early vigorous HIV-specific CD8+ CTL response that does not prevent disease progression in the vast majority of patients. In this context, there is a striking mismatch over the course of disease progression between increasing numbers of activated CD8+ T cells and apparent decrease of virus-specific CD8+ CTLs. Inhibitory NK receptors (iNKRs) specific for HLA class I molecules can be expressed on CD8+ T-cells of healthy individuals and deliver inhibitory signals that determine decreased CTL function. Their expression on CD8+ CTL may be induced by IL-15 or TGFP in vitro, and may represent an important regulatory function for the fine-tuning of the antigen-specific T cell response against tumors and intracytoplasmic pathogens. In HIV-1 infected patients, relevant proportions of peripheral blood CD8+ T lymphocytes express iNKRs belonging to the Ig superfamily (p58/p70/p140) and CD94/NKG2A. Presence of iNKRs on CD8+ CTLs impairs HIV-1-specific cytolytic activity in vitro and may allow uncontrolled viral replication and spread following functional inhibition of CTL effectors in infected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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