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The role of cytotoxic T-cells in HIV infection.


Dev Biol Stand. 1998;92:209-14. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE

HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are believed to play a major role in controlling virus levels through the asymptomatic period of HIV infection. For the rational design of an HIV vaccine, we need to know whether protective immunity can ever develop following HIV exposure in people who remain uninfected. We have detected HIV-specific CTL in 5/6 repeatedly exposed, persistently seronegative female sex-workers in The Gambia. Their CTL, repeatedly detected over two years, recognise epitopes presented by HLA-B35 which are cross-reactive between HIV-1 & HIV-2, suggesting they could have been primed first by HIV-2 exposure and subsequently boosted by exposure to HIV-1. Using previously identified clade B HIV-1 epitope peptides, we have now detected HIV-specific CTL in 6/15 highly exposed and apparently HIV-resistant Kenyan prostitutes, predominantly towards epitopes highly conserved between B and the Kenyan A & D clades of HIV-1. This CTL activity towards conserved virus epitopes may represent protective immunity to HIV generated in response to repeated exposure, and prophylactic HIV vaccines should aim to generate similar CTL responses.

*HIV Infections/IMMUNOLOGY *HIV-1/IMMUNOLOGY *T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/IMMUNOLOGY


Information in this article was accurate in August 30, 1998. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.