Cytomegalovirus coinfection is associated with increased vascular-homing CD57+ CD4 T cells in HIV infection

Bonnie Chen, Stephen R. Morris, Soumya Panigrahi, Gillian M. Michaelson, Jonathan M. Wyrick, Alexey A. Komissarov, Daria Potashnikova, Anna Lebedeva, Souheil Antoine Younes, Karem Harth, Vikram S. Kashyap, Elena Vasilieva, Leonid Margolis, David A. Zidar, Scott F. Sieg, Carey L. Shive, Nicholas T. Funderburg, Sara Gianella, Michael M. Lederman, Michael L. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cytotoxic CD4 T cells are linked to cardiovascular morbidities and accumulate in both HIV and CMV infections, both of which are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this study, we identify CMV coinfection as a major driver of the cytotoxic phenotype, characterized by elevated CD57 expression and reduced CD28 expression, in circulating CD4 T cells from people living with HIV infection, and investigate potential mechanisms linking this cell population to CVD. We find that human CD57+ CD4 T cells express high levels of the costimulatory receptor CD2 and that CD2/LFA-3 costimulation results in a more robust and polyfunctional effector response to TCR signals, compared with CD28-mediated costimulation. CD57+ CD4 T cells also express the vascular endothelium-homing receptor CX3CR1 and migrate toward CX3CL1-expressing endothelial cells in vitro. IL-15 promotes the cytotoxic phenotype, elevates CX3CR1 expression, and enhances the trafficking of CD57+ CD4 T cells to endothelium and may therefore be important in linking these cells to cardiovascular complications. Finally, we demonstrate the presence of activated CD57+ CD4 T cells and expression of CX3CL1 and LFA-3 in atherosclerotic plaque tissues from HIV-uninfected donors. Our findings are consistent with a model in which cytotoxic CD4 T cells contribute to CVD in HIV/CMV coinfection and in atherosclerosis via CX3CR1-mediated trafficking and CD2/LFA-3-mediated costimulation. This study identifies several targets for therapeutic interventions and may help bridge the gap in understanding how CMV infection and immunity are linked to increased cardiovascular risk in people living with HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2722-2733
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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