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Hum Immunol. 2001 Jun;62(6):561-76.

Spreading of HIV-specific CD8+ T-cell repertoire in long-term nonprogressors and its role in the control of viral load and disease activity.

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Foundazione Andrea Cesalpino, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Policlinico Umberto I, Rome, Italy.


Long-term non-progressors (LTNP) represent a minority of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals characterized by stable or even increasing CD4+ T-cell count and by stronger immune responses against HIV than progressors. In this study, HIV-specific effector CD8+ T cells, as detected by both a sensitive ex vivo enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay and specific major histocompatibility complex (MHC) peptide tetramers, were at a low frequency in the peripheral blood of LTNP, and recognized a lower number of HIV peptides than their memory resting cell counterparts. Both factors may account for the lack of complete HIV clearance by LTNP, who could control the viral spread, and displayed a higher magnitude of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses than progressors. By combining cell purification and ELISPOT assays this study demonstrates that both effector and memory resting cells were confined to a CD8+ population with memory CD45RO+ phenotype, with the former being CD28- and the latter CD28+. Longitudinal studies highlighted a relatively stable HIV-specific effector repertoire, viremia, and CD4+ T-cell counts, which were all correlated with maintenance of nonprogressor status. In conclusion, the analysis of HIV-specific cellular responses in these individuals may help define clear correlates of protective immunity in HIV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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