Evidence of a selective depletion of a CD16+ CD56+ CD8+ natural killer cell subset during HIV infection

Barbara Lucia, Cheryl Jennings, Roberto Cauda, Luigi Ortona, Alan L. Landay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three‐color flow cytometric analysis of CD16+ natural killer (NK) cells was assessed in HIV seropositive patients and healthy heterosexual controls. A selective depletion of lymphocytes with the CD16+ NK phenotype was found among the HIV+ infected patients. When the CD16 lymphocyte subset was further evaluated by three‐color flow cytometry, cells bearing both the CD8 and CD56 antigens were significantly decreased. Analysis of activation antigens revealed a large proportion of CD16+ NK cells from HIV+ patients expressed HLA‐DR, but this did not correlate with CD25 (IL‐2 receptor) expression. The overall loss of the CD8 and CD56 antigens among the NK population with an increase in activation status may be due to differential loss of the NK cell subsets or, alternatively, to the loss of immunoregulatory cytokines, which have been shown to be important in maintaining NK activity. Whether these changes in the NK compartment may influence the outcome of individuals with HIV disease still remains an open question but is an important issue when performing phenotypic analysis of HIV+ subjects. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 15 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • flow cytometry
  • HIV disease
  • NK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Hematology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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