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Clin Immunol. 2004 Dec;113(3):299-309.

Characterization of virus-specific CD8(+) effector T cells in the course of HIV-1 infection: longitudinal analyses in slow and rapid progressors.

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Department of Clinical Viro-Immunology, Sanquin Research and Landsteiner Laboratory of the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Plesmanlaan 125, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Studies in humans have provided evidence that CD8(+) T cells exhibit distinct phenotypical and functional properties dependent on virus specificity. It is not known how these T-cell phenotypes develop over the course of infection. Dynamics and properties of T cells specific for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in HIV infection were investigated in relation to viral load. In rapid progressors, HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells were less differentiated early in infection and did not develop a more differentiated phenotype. In slow progressors, perforin expression of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells slightly increased over time. HIV and EBV loads were detectable in all individuals, while CMV load could not be detected. Thus, in individuals with progressive HIV infection, HIV-specific T cells are less differentiated already early in infection. This apparent block in differentiation may be partly caused by chronic viremia or lack of CD4(+) T-cell help.

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