Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31385864
AIDS 2019 Aug;
BACKGROUND: HIV infection has often been linked to faster immune aging. We sought to determine whether or not treatment-naïve spontaneous HIV-1 controllers (HICs) and ART-exposed patients differ with regard to the expression of cell senescence markers.
METHODS: Eighty-eight chronically infected HICs and ART-exposed patients (median time since infection: 15 years) with an undetectable plasma HIV RNA load (for at least the previous two years) were included. We used flow cytometry to measure immunosenescence markers (KLRG-1 and CD57) expression in fresh blood samples collected from patients and healthy donors.
RESULTS: For the CD8 T cell population as a whole, the ART-exposed but not the HIC patients exhibited a much higher proportion of KLRG-1 and CD57 CD8 T cells than HDs. For the CD8 T cell subsets, HICs had a lower proportion of CD57 effector CD8 T cells than ART patients or HDs, whereas the proportions of KLRG-1 effector were similar. A similar trend was observed for terminal effectors. No impact of age, gender or standard parameters of infection (CD4 percentage, protective HLA allele, viral blips) was observed. The difference in the proportion of CD57 cells between HIC and ART was observed more specifically in long-term infected patients (>20 years). However, when considering the CD57 effector memory and effector subsets, the cytotoxic granule content was greater in HICs than in ART.
CONCLUSION: The proportion of CD57 effector CD8 T cells is lower in HICs than in ART-exposed patients. This profile may be beneficial by ensuring limited senescence associated with consistent cytotoxic potential.