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AIDS. 2000 Apr 14;14(6):637-46.

An early expansion of CD8alphabeta T cells, but depletion of resident CD8alphaalpha T cells, occurs in the intestinal epithelium during primary simian immunodeficiency virus infection.

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Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California Davis, 95616, USA.



To evaluate changes in the phenotypic heterogeneity and function of CD8 T cells in the intestinal epithelium during primary SIV infection.


Previous studies have shown an increased prevalence of CD8 T cells in the intestinal epithelium in HIV and SIV infections. As intestinal CD8 T cells are a heterogeneous population we evaluated their phenotypic distribution (CD8alphabeta, CD8alphaalpha) and function [interferon (IFN)-gamma production] during primary SIV infection.


The phenotype and functional potential of CD8 intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) prior to and following SIV infection were determined using flow cytometry.


IEL were found to harbor CD8alphabetaCD3, CD8alphaalphaCD3 and CD8alphaalpha+CD3- T-cell subsets. Most of the CD8CD4 double positive IEL expressed CD8alphaalpha homodimers. In primary SIV infection the frequency of CD8alphabetaCD3 T cells increased dramatically whereas the frequency of CD8alphaalpha T cells declined. A higher frequency of CD8alphabetaKi-67 IEL was observed following SIV infection suggesting that local cell proliferation might have contributed to an increased prevalence of CD8alphabeta IEL. In contrast, a severe depletion of CD8alphaalphaCD4 IEL occurred which contributed to the depletion of CD8alphaalpha IEL. The CD8alphabeta IEL were the major producers of IFN-gamma in the intestinal epithelium and the frequency of IFN-gamma-producing CD8alphabeta IEL was enhanced considerably in primary infection.


CD8alphabeta IEL may be important in generating early antiviral responses at the intestinal epithelium. However, alterations in CD8 T-cell subsets and their function may reflect early immunopathogenic events in the intestinal mucosa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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