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Clin Exp Immunol. 1994 Mar;95(3):430-5.

Abnormalities in subset distribution, activation, and differentiation of T cells isolated from large intestine biopsies in HIV infection. The Berlin Diarrhoea/Wasting Syndrome Study Group.

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Department of Medicine, Klinikum Steglitz, Free University of Berlin, Germany.


Intestinal T cells have a unique state of activation and differentiation which might specifically affect or be affected by HIV infection. Lymphocyte subsets in the peripheral blood are well characterized, but our knowledge about intestinal lymphocytes in HIV infection is incomplete. We therefore analysed lymphocytes isolated from large intestine biopsies of AIDS patients and controls by three-colour cytofluorometry. In the large intestine of HIV-infected patients CD4 T cells were reduced and CD8 T cells were increased compared with controls. Most of the CD8 T cells in the colorectal mucosa of AIDS patients were of the cytotoxic phenotype. Activated and resting CD4 T cells were similarly reduced, the expression of CD25 and HLA-DR of CD8 T cells was unaltered and increased, respectively. In intestinal CD4 T cells the expression of CD29 was decreased, but the expression of CD45RO and HML-1 was normal. CD8 T cells had a decreased expression of all these differentiation markers. Our findings demonstrate substantial alterations in subset distribution, activation, and differentiation of large intestine T cells, which may contribute to the secondary infections and malignancies commonly observed in the gut of AIDS patients.

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