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Blood. 2007 Aug 1;110(3):928-36. Epub 2007 Apr 17.

SIV-specific CD8+ T cells express high levels of PD1 and cytokines but have impaired proliferative capacity in acute and chronic SIVmac251 infection.

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  • 1Immunology Laboratory, Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH, 40 Convent Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Programmed death-1 (PD-1) is a critical mediator of virus-specific CD8+ T-cell exhaustion. Here, we examined the expression of PD-1 on simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific CD8+ T cells and its possible involvement in regulation of cytokine production, proliferation, and survival of these cells. The majority of SIV-specific CD8+ T cells expressed a PD-1(high) phenotype, independent of their differentiation status, in all tissues tested. PD-1 expression gradually declined on CD8+ T cells specific for SIV-derived epitopes that had undergone mutational escape, indicating that antigen-specific TCR stimulation is the primary determinant of PD-1 expression. SIV-specific PD-1(high)CD8+ T cells produced IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and IL-2 under cognate peptide stimulation. While CD8+ T cells that proliferated in response to antigen had a PD-1(high) phenotype, it was determined that there was a reduced proliferative capacity of PD-1(high) compared with PD-1(low) SIV-specific CD8+ T cells. PD-1(high) SIV-specific CD8+ T cells were highly susceptible to cell death leading to loss of such cells after in vitro stimulation. Thus, PD-1 is a negative regulator of SIV-specific CD8+ T cells, operating predominantly through the induction of cell death. Manipulation of the interaction of PD-1 with its ligands could thus potentially restore the CD8+ T-cell responses in SIV infection.

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