Phenotypic Characterization of HIV-Specific CD8+ T Cells during Early and Chronic Infant HIV-1 Infection

Citation:
Slyker JA, John-Stewart GC, Dong T, Lohman-Payne B, Reilly M, Atzberger A, Taylor S, Maleche-Obimbo E, Mbori-Ngacha D, Rowland-J. "Phenotypic Characterization of HIV-Specific CD8+ T Cells during Early and Chronic Infant HIV-1 Infection." BMC Infect Dis. 2011; 11: 259. Published online 2011 September 30. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-11-259. 2011.

Abstract:

Abstract
Although CD8+ T cells play an important role in the containment of adult HIV-1 replication, their role in infant HIV-1
infection is not as well understood. Impaired HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses may underlie the persistently high viral loads
observed in infants. We examined the frequency and phenotype of infant HIV-specific CD8+ T cells in 7 HIV-infected
antiretroviral therapy-naı¨ve infants during the first 2 years of life, using class I HLA tetramers and IFN-c-ELISPOT. The
frequency (0.088–3.9% of CD3+CD8+ cells) and phenotype (CD27+CD282, CD45RA+/2, CD57+/2, HLA-DR+, CD95+) of infant
HIV-specific CD8+ T cells were similar to reports in adults undergoing early infection. Unlike adults, at 23–24 months postinfection
a high frequency of HIV-specific CD8+ T cells expressed HLA-DR (mean 80%, range 68–85%) and CD95 (mean 88%,
range 79–96%), suggesting sustained activation and vulnerability to apoptosis. Despite comparable expansion of HIVspecific
CD8+ T cells of a similar phenotype to adults during early infection, infant T cells failed to contain HIV-1 replication,
and remained persistently activated and vulnerable to apoptosis during chronic infection.

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