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J Infect Dis. 2012 May 15;205(10):1495-500. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis236. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Preserved function of regulatory T cells in chronic HIV-1 infection despite decreased numbers in blood and tissue.

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Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Charlestown, MA 02129-2000, USA.


Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are potent immune modulators, but their role in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) pathogenesis remains poorly understood. We performed a detailed analysis of the frequency and function of Tregs in a large cohort of HIV-1-infected individuals and HIV-1 negative controls. While HIV "elite controllers" and uninfected individuals had similar Treg numbers and frequencies, the absolute numbers of Tregs declined in blood and gut-associated lymphoid tissue in patients with chronic progressive HIV-1 infection. Despite quantitative changes in Tregs, HIV-1 infection was not associated with an impairment of ex vivo suppressive function of flow-sorted Tregs in both HIV controllers and untreated chronic progressors.

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