Proliferation responses to HIVp24 during antiretroviral therapy do not reflect improved immune phenotype or function

Christoph G. Lange, Zhan Xu, Bruce K. Patterson, Kathy Medvik, Brooke Harnisch, Robert Asaad, Hernan Valdez, Sandra J. Lee, Alan Landay, Judy Lieberman, Michael M. Lederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To ascertain whether lymphoproliferation (LP) responses to HIVp24 in chronically infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) predict an improved cytolytic T-cell phenotype or better in vivo immune function as measured by immunization responses. Methods: HIV-infected patients who started ART during chronic infection and who achieved viral suppression (HIV-RNA < 400 copies/ml for > 12 months) were grouped by the presence of strong [stimulation index (SI) > 10; n = 21] or absent (SI < 3; n = 18) LP to HIV-core antigen. The two groups were compared for functional immune responses to vaccination with diphtheria-toxoid, tetanus-toxoid and keyhole-limpet-hemocyanin, frequency of circulating naive and memory CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, maturation phenotype and expression of cytolytic molecules on total and HIV-specific CD8+ T cells, and frequency of memory CD4+ T cells with intracellular HIV-mRNA. Group comparisons were analyzed by non-parametric Mann-Whitney tests. Proportions were estimated by Pearson's χ2 analysis. Results: There were no differences between the groups in immune responses to vaccination or in the numbers or phenotype of circulating T cells. In a subgroup of HLA-A2+ or B8+ patients, HIV-reactive CD8+ T cells in both groups had similar expression of perform, granzyme A and T-cell maturation markers (CD27, CD28, CCR7, CD62L). However, patients with SI > 10 in response to HIVp24 tended to more often have high levels of circulating CD4+ T cells with intracellular HIV-1 mRNA than did patients with SI < 3. Conclusion: Following long-standing suppression of viral replication on ART, the presence of HIV-1 specific T-helper proliferation responses does not correlate with improved indices of immune phenotype or function but may reflect relatively higher levels of HIV-expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-613
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 5 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Granzyme
  • Highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV
  • Intracellular RNA
  • Lymphoproliferation
  • Perforin
  • Tetramer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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