The persistence of HIV replication in infected individuals may reflect an inadequate host HIV-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response. The functional activity of HIV-specific CTLs and the ability of these effector cells to migrate in vivo to sites of infection was directly assessed by expanding autologous HIV-1 Gag-specific CD8+ CTL clones in vitro and adoptively transferring these CTLs to HIV-infected individuals. The transferred CTLs retained lytic function in vivo, accumulated adjacent to HIV-infected cells in lymph nodes and transiently reduced the levels of circulating productively infected CD4+ T cells. These results provide direct evidence that HIV-specific CTLs target sites of HIV replication and mediate antiviral activity, and indicate that the development of immunotherapeutic approaches to sustain a strong CTL response to HIV may be a useful adjunct to treatment of HIV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)