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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1994 Feb;10(2):115-20.

HIV antigen-reactive T cells detected by antigen-induced interferon gamma secretion.

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Department of Virology, National Bacteriological Laboratory, Solna, Stockholm, Sweden.


The T cell repertoire to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was studied in HIV-infected patients of different clinical stages by the detection and enumeration of cells that secreted interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) in short-term cultures of blood mononuclear cells after stimulation in vitro with the HIV recombinant antigens pB1, p121, p24-15, gp160bac, and the HIV V3 loop peptide. T cell reactivities to cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis-purified protein derivative (PPD) were examined in parallel. Among 29 patients with HIV infection, 48% had blood cells recognizing one or more of the five HIV antigens. The mean numbers of HIV antigen-reactive T cells varied between 1/approximately 6000 blood cells for pB1 and 1/approximately 20,000 cells for p24-15. None of the five HIV antigens studied was identified as an immunodominant T cell epitope in HIV infection. T cells from 20% of the patients responded to all five HIV antigens in parallel, but the antigen preferentially recognized varied from patient to patient. Those with more advanced disease had a tendency to lower numbers of HIV antigen-reactive T cells. Most HIV-infected patients had both CMV- and PPD-reactive T cells, but numbers were significantly lower in more advanced disease. It should be possible to adopt the present method to evaluate fine specificities of the T cell repertoire to other antigens and to study the involvement of other cytokines besides IFN-gamma, for example, the Th2 cell-related cytokine interleukin 4.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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