Author(s): Kinter A, McNally J, Riggin L, Jackson R, Roby G, , Kinter A, McNally J, Riggin L, Jackson R, Roby G,
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Abstract CD25(+) CD4(+) FoxP3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells isolated from the peripheral blood of asymptomatic HIV-infected individuals have been demonstrated to significantly suppress HIV-specific immune responses in vitro. CD25(+) Treg cell suppressor activity in the peripheral blood seems to diminish with progression of HIV disease, and it has been suggested that loss of Treg cells contributes to aberrant immune activation and disease progression. However, phenotypic studies suggest that Treg cells may migrate to, and be maintained or even expanded in, tissue sites of HIV replication. Currently, it is not known whether tissue-associated Treg cells maintain suppressive activity in the context of HIV infection, particularly in individuals with advanced disease. The present study demonstrates that CD25(+) Treg cells isolated from lymph nodes and peripheral blood of HIV(+) subjects, even those with high viral loads and/or low CD4(+) T cell counts, maintain potent suppressive activity against HIV-specific cytolytic T cell function. This activity was better in lymph node as compared with peripheral blood, particularly in patients with high levels of plasma viremia. In addition, the expression of certain CD25(+) Treg-associated markers on CD4(+) T cells isolated from lymph nodes differed significantly from those on CD4(+) T cell subsets isolated from the peripheral blood. These data suggest that CD25(+) Treg cell-mediated suppression of HIV-specific responses continues throughout the course of HIV disease and, because of their particularly potent suppression of HIV-specific CTL activity in lymphoid tissue, may considerably impact the ability to control HIV replication in vivo.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research