Cytotoxic HIV-1 p55gag-specific CD4+ T cells produce HIV-inhibitory cytokines and chemokines

J Clin Immunol. 2002 Sep;22(5):253-62. doi: 10.1023/a:1020066404226.


CD4+ T-helper cells appear to be essential in sustaining immune responses in chronic viral infections, as the maintenance of CD8+ cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses and the control of viremia were demonstrated to depend on CD4+ T cell help. In order to investigate the function of HIV-specific CD4+ T cells in chronic HIV-1-infection, 49 chronically HIV-infected patients were analyzed before and 3 and 6 months after initiation of antiviral treatment. Ten patients showed a substantial, although weak, proliferative response to HIV-1-p55gag protein for which no improvement was observed upon initiation of HAART. From one individual, HIV-1-p55gag-specific CD4-positive T-cell clones were generated that were heterogeneous in their TCR Vbeta gene usage and HLA-DRB1*13 and DRB1*03 restricted, respectively. In addition, some CD4+ TCC produced substantial amounts of IFN-gamma and MIP-1alpha/beta were perforin-positive, and showed cytotoxic activity. These diverse functional features of HIV-specific CD4+ T cells suggest that they may exert direct antiviral activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Chemokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Gene Products, gag / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / chemistry
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Protein Precursors / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / metabolism


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Epitopes
  • Gene Products, gag
  • Protein Precursors
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • p55 gag precursor protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1