Because stimulation of CD4+ lymphocytes leads to activation of human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) replication, viral spread, and cell death, adoptive CD4+ T cell therapy has not been possible. When antigen and CD28 receptors on cultured T cells were stimulated by monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to CD3 and CD28 that had been immobilized, there was an increase in the number of polyclonal CD4+ T cells from HIV-infected donors. Activated cells predominantly secreted cytokines associated with T helper cell type 1 function. The HIV-1 vital load declined in the absence of antiretroviral agents. Moreover, CD28 stimulation of CD4+ T cells from uninfected donors rendered these cells highly resistant to HIV-1 infection. Immobilization of CD28 mAb was crucial to the development of HIV resistance, as cells stimulated with soluble CD28 mAb were highly susceptible to HIV infection. The CD28-mediated antiviral effect occurred early in the viral life cycle, before HIV-1 DNA integration. These data may facilitate immune reconstitution and gene therapy approaches in persons with HIV infection.
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