Systemic DPP4/CD26 is associated with natural HIV-1 control: Implications for COVID-19 susceptibility

Yashini Govender, Sharon Shalekoff, Osman Ebrahim, Ziyaad Waja, Richard E. Chaisson, Neil Martinson, Caroline T. Tiemessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current intersection of the COVID-19 and HIV-1 pandemics, has raised concerns about the risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes particularly in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, disproportionally affected by HIV. DPP4/CD26 has been suggested to be a potential therapeutic target and a biomarker for risk in COVID-19 patients with high risk co-morbidities. We therefore evaluated soluble DPP4 (sDPP4) levels and activity in plasma of 131 HIV-infected and 20 HIV-uninfected South African individuals. Flow cytometry was performed to compare cell surface expression of DPP4/CD26 and activation markers on peripheral blood mononuclear cells of extreme clinical phenotypes. Progressors had lower specific DPP4 activity and lower frequency of CD3+ T-cells expressing CD26 than HIV-1 controllers, but more activated CD3+CD26+ T-cells. The frequency of CD26-expressing T-cells negatively correlated with HLA-DR+ and CD38+ T-cells. Divergent DPP4/CD26 expression between HIV-1 controllers and progressors may have implications for risk and treatment of COVID-19 in people living with HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108824
JournalClinical Immunology
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • CD26
  • COVID-19
  • DPP4
  • Elite controllers
  • HIV-1
  • Progressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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