A unique cohort of HIV-1-infected long term nonprogressors (LTNP) with normal CD4+ T cell counts and <50 copies/ml of plasma were prospectively recruited for study. HLA typing revealed a dramatic association between the HLA B*5701 class I allele and nonprogressive infection [85% (11 of 13) vs. 9.5% (19 of 200) in progressors; P < 0.001]. Antigen-specific CD8+ T cells were enumerated by flow cytometric detection of intracellular IFN-γ, in response to HIV antigens and HLA B*57-gag tetramer staining. No quantitative differences in the total HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses were observed between B*57+ LTNP and five B*57+ progressors (P = 0.4). Although similar frequencies of peptide specific CD8+ T cells were also found, the gag- specific CD8+ T cell response in the LTNP group was highly focused on peptides previously shown to be B*57-restricted. These findings indicate that, within this phenotypically and genotypically distinct cohort, a host immune factor is highly associated with restriction of virus replication and nonprogressive disease. They also strongly suggest a mechanism of virus specific immunity that directly operates through the B*5701 molecule. Further characterization of qualitative differences in the virus-specific responses that distinguish HLA B*57+ LTNP from progressors may ultimately define mechanisms of effective immune mediated restriction of virus replication.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Mar 14 2000|
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