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Nature. 1987 Jul 23-29;328(6128):345-8.

HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes in seropositive individuals.


Virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) which kill virus-infected cells are thought to be a major host defence against viral infections. Here we report the existence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific CTL in persons infected with this virus, the aetiological agent of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Recombinant HIV-vaccinia viruses were used to express HIV antigens in B-cell lines established from subjects seropositive for HIV and seronegative controls. Circulating lymphocytes capable of killing HIV env-expressing autologous B cells were detected in eight of eight seropositive subjects; in addition, at least three seropositive subjects demonstrated gag-specific cytotoxic responses. No HIV-specific cytotoxicity was observed in seronegative subjects. Selective inhibition of the env-specific cytotoxicity by a CD3-specific monoclonal antibody indicates that the effectors are T cells. This demonstration of a cytotoxic T-cell immune response to HIV in infected individuals should prove useful in investigating the immunopathogenesis of HIV infection further and in evaluating AIDS vaccine strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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