Role of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific T-cell immunity in control of dual HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection.

Research paper by Natalie N NN Zheng, M Juliana MJ McElrath, Papa-Salif PS Sow, Stephen E SE Hawes, Habibatou H Diallo-Agne, Joshua E JE Stern, Fusheng F Li, Andrew L AL Mesher, Akeliah D AD Robinson, Geoffrey S GS Gottlieb, Yunda Y Huang, Nancy B NB Kiviat

Indexed on: 22 Jun '07Published on: 22 Jun '07Published in: Journal of virology


Progressive immune dysfunction and AIDS develop in most cases of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection but in only 25 to 30% of persons with HIV-2 infection. However, the natural history and immunologic responses of individuals with dual HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection are largely undefined. Based on our previous findings, we hypothesized that among patients with dual infection the control of HIV-1 is associated with the ability to respond to HIV-2 Gag epitopes and to maintain HIV-specific CD4(+) T-cell responses. To test this, we compared the HIV-specific ex vivo IFN-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay responses of 19 dually infected individuals to those of persons infected with HIV-1 or HIV-2 only. Further, we assessed the functional profile of HIV Gag-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from nine HIV dually infected patients by using a multicolor intracellular cytokine staining assay. As determined by ELISPOT assay, the magnitude and frequency of IFN-gamma-secreting T-cell responses to gene products of HIV-1 were higher than those to gene products of HIV-2 (2.64 versus 1.53 log(10) IFN-gamma spot-forming cells/10(6) cells [90% versus 63%, respectively].) Further, HIV-1 Env-, Gag-, and Nef- and HIV-2 Gag-specific responses were common; HIV-2 Nef-specific responses were rare. HIV-specific CD4(+) T helper responses were detected in nine of nine dually infected subjects, with the majority of these T cells producing gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and, to a lesser extent, interleukin-2. The HIV-1 plasma viral load was inversely correlated with HIV-2 Gag-specific IFN-gamma-/TNF-alpha-secreting CD4(+) and HIV-2 Gag-specific IFN-gamma-secreting CD8(+) T cells. In conclusion, the T-cell memory responses associated with containment of single HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection play a similar significant role in the immune control of dual HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection.