Loss of CD4+ T Cell Proliferative Ability but Not Loss of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Specificity Equates With Progression to Disease

J Infect Dis. 2000 Sep;182(3):792-8. doi: 10.1086/315764. Epub 2000 Aug 17.


In this study, we compared human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1-specific proliferative responses with HIV-1-induced intracellular cytokine production in a cohort of clinically nonprogressing patients and individuals with progressive HIV-1 infection. We found strong HIV-1-specific proliferative responses in the clinical nonprogressor cohort that correlated with significant numbers of circulating HIV-1-specific CD4(+) T cells. In contrast, HIV-1-specific proliferative responses were absent in most individuals with progressive HIV-1 infection, even though interferon-gamma-producing HIV-1-specific CD4(+) T cells were detectable by flow cytometry. The implication of these data is that the important dysfunction seen in most HIV-positive patients from very early in disease may be an inability of HIV-1-specific CD4(+) memory T cells to proliferate in response to HIV antigens rather than an absolute loss of circulating virus-specific CD4(+) T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Cell Division
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Disease Progression
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Viral Load


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Cytokines