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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2007 Jan;23(1):67-76.

Evaluation of cellular immune responses in subjects chronically infected with HIV type 1.

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Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, PA 19486, USA.


The importance of host cellular immune responses, particularly CD8(+) cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses, in control of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection has been demonstrated in many clinical studies. These studies, along with vaccination challenge studies in rhesus macaques, indicate the importance of cellular immune responses against HIV-1. Toward this end, we evaluated anti-HIV-1 cellular immune responses in a cohort of 54 subjects who were chronically infected with HIV-1. By validation of IFN-gamma ELISpot assay, we established a dual cut-off criterion for scoring a positive response. The magnitude and frequency of cellular immune responses were measured against HIV-1 antigens (Gag, Pol, Nef, Rev, and Tat), using synthetic peptides as antigens in ELISpot assay. Here we showed that HIV-1 Gag, Pol, and Nef were frequent targets of T cell responses in these subjects, whereas Tat and Rev were less frequently recognized. We further evaluated the possible association between host cellular immune responses and corresponding plasma viral loads in this cohort. By performing ranking correlation analysis, we demonstrated a positive correlation between host viral loads and ELISpot responses of HIV Gag and Pol in untreated subjects. For the subjects under antiviral regimens, however, we did not find any significant association. Our findings suggest that the high levels of ELISpot responses in chronically infected subjects were reflective of their persistent viral infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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