Background: Binding of fluorochrome-conjugated MHC class I tetramers is a powerful means to detect antigen-specific CD8 T lymphocytes. In human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, cellular immune response is essential in curtailing HIV disease progression but gaps persist in our understanding of HIV-specific cells during the disease course. In this study, we evaluated tetramer binding HIV-specific CD8 T cells in HIV-infected children. Methods: Fluorescently labeled tetramers for HIV gag and pol were utilized to quantify antigen-specific cells by flow cytometry using a whole blood labeling method in a cohort of 19 HLA-A2+ HIV-infected children (age range 1 month to 17 years). Results: Fourteen children had detectable gag (median 0.4%) and pol (median 0.1%) binding CD8 T cells, three children had gag binding cells only, and two had neither. Numbers of gag and pol binding cells correlated with each other and each correlated independently with total CD8 T cells and total CD4 T cells. Conclusions: HIV gag and pol-specific CD8 T cells are maintained during the chronic phase of HIV infection in children and CD4 lymphocytes appear to be important for sustaining their levels. Cytometry (Comm. Clin. Cytometry) 46:265-270, 2001.
- Flow cytometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine