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AIDS. 1992 Oct;6(10):1085-94.

The influence of lymphocyte counts and disease progression on circulating and inducible anti-HIV-1 cytotoxic T-cell activity in HIV-1-infected subjects.

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Department of Pathology, McMaster University Health Sciences Center, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



To evaluate specific anti-HIV cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) activity in relation to basic clinical and laboratory parameters used to follow HIV infection.


Lymphocytes from HIV-1-infected subjects with different clinical and immunologic features of HIV infection were tested for circulating and inducible anti-HIV CTL activity using autologous B-lymphoblastoid cells infected with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing the HIV gag, pol and env genes as targets. Anti-HIV CTL were induced by stimulation with HIV-infected autologous lymphoblasts in vitro.


We detected circulating anti-HIV CTL in asymptomatic subjects exclusively and found a significant association (P < 0.01) between CD8+ lymphocyte counts > or = 900/microliters blood and detectable levels of circulating anti-HIV CTL. Subjects with circulating anti-HIV CTL also had a higher mean CD8+ lymphocyte count than those without detectable circulating activity (P < 0.001), but there was no significant difference in mean CD4+ lymphocyte count. CD8+ human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I-restricted anti-HIV CTL were induced in all HIV-infected subjects tested following stimulation with HIV-infected autologous lymphoblasts in vitro. In subjects without detectable circulating anti-HIV CTL, circulating HLA-DR+ cells contributed to anti-HIV CTL activity induced by stimulation with HIV or concanavalin A in vitro.


Circulating anti-HIV CTL activity is associated with CD8+ lymphocyte counts > or = 900/microliters. Anti-HIV CTL retain proliferative and functional capacity following in vitro stimulation with HIV and interleukin-2 through all stages of HIV infection. Persistent inducible anti-HIV CTL activity in subjects with advanced HIV disease and without circulating CTL suggests impaired activation and/or proliferation of the CTL in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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