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J Infect Dis. 2001 Aug 1;184(3):256-67. Epub 2001 Jul 10.

Human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy maintain activated CD8+ T cell subsets as a strong adaptive immune response to cytomegalovirus.

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Laboratory of Vaccine Research, Department of Virology, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California, USA.


CD8(+) T lymphocyte function specific for human cytomegalovirus (CMV) was evaluated in 14 patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and 26 CMV-seropositive donors without HIV infection. Fifty-seven percent of the HIV-infected group had CMV-specific cytolytic activity in freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) against targets expressing CMV pp65. Both interferon (IFN)-gamma secretion by CD8(+) T cells and the frequency of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-tetramer-positive T cells in HLA-A*0201-positive HIV-infected subjects correlated with CMV-specific cytolysis. In contrast, PBMC from healthy CMV-seropositive donors did not have either measurable CMV-specific cytolysis or secretion of IFN-gamma without in vitro stimulation. The T helper response to CMV antigens was vigorous in healthy CMV-seropositive donors but low in the cohort of HIV-infected patients. Potent CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses to CMV in HIV-infected patients receiving HAART is the converse of what is found in healthy CMV-seropositive subjects and may be the predominant adaptive immune response against CMV in HIV-infected patients.

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