Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19098272
Blood 2009 Apr;113(14):3209-17
CD8(+) T cells play an important role in controlling viral infections. Defective CD8(+) T-cell responses during HIV infection could contribute to viral persistence. Early initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy during acute primary HIV infection helps to preserve HIV-specific immune responses. Here, we describe a particular CD27(+) CD45RO(-)/RA(+) HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell in participants treated early during the primary infection. These cells, which were present at a very low frequency during primary HIV infection, increased markedly after early treatment, whereas their frequency remained unchanged in untreated participants and in participants treated later. These nonnaive antigen-experienced cells are in a resting state and have characteristics of long-lived memory cells. They also possess direct effector capabilities, such as cytokine production, and are able to proliferate and to acquire cytotoxic functions on reactivation. Our results suggest that these HIV-specific CD27(+) CD45RO(-)/RA(+) CD8(+) T cells, observed when early viral replication is inhibited, form a pool of resting cells with memory characteristics.