Cellular immune responses play a central role in controlling HIV-1 infection. HIV-specific IFN-γ production by CD8 T cells was evaluated in 17 HLA-A2+ HIV-infected pediatric patients (age range 1 month to 16 years) in an ELISPOT assay. Most patients (15/17) exhibited responses to HIV-gag, followed by responses to envelope gp120, gp41, and V3 loop. Only 7 patients responded to all four antigenic peptides. Treatment-related immune reconstitution of CD4 T cells was associated with increase in gag-specific responses, but these declined with prolonged viral suppression. Exogenous IL-15 resulted in augmentation of HIV-gag-specific response in 71% of patients, while IL-2 and IL-7 had variable effects, augmenting responses in 25% patients. Thus, HIV-specific CD8 T-cell responses are dependent on both CD4 T-cell help and antigenic stimulation. The cytokine IL-15 may be a useful modality as adjunctive therapy to augment HIV-specific memory CD8 T cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy