Microanatomic relationships between CD8+ cells and HIV-1-producing cells in human lymphoid tissue in vivo

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2003 Apr 15;32(5):469-76. doi: 10.1097/00126334-200304150-00001.


Objective: Host immune responses are unable to fully suppress HIV-1 replication in lymphoid tissues. Microanatomic relationships between HIV-1-producing cells and CD8+ cells in lymphoid tissues were analyzed to determine whether there was evidence for an immune privileged site or impaired recognition of virus-producing cells.

Methods: CD8+ cell phenotypes were determined on disaggregated inguinal lymph node cells by flow cytometry for seven untreated HIV-1-infected subjects. Microanatomic relationships between HIV-1-producing cells and CD8+ cells were analyzed in lymph node sections from 15 HIV-1-infected individuals using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical staining.

Results: Most (median, 96%) lymph node CD8+ cells coexpressed CD3. Frequencies of virus-producing cells detected by in situ hybridization correlated with plasma HIV-1 RNA concentration (Spearman rho = 0.70; p =.02; n = 11). The percentage of lymph node cells adjacent to virus-producing cells that were CD8+ (median, 29%) was not statistically different from the percentage of CD8+ cells in lymphoid tissue overall (median, 34%; p =.09).

Conclusions: Multiple explanations could account for the observation that CD8+ cells do not preferentially accumulate around virus-producing cells including the possibility that HIV-1-specific CD8+ cells cannot recognize virus-producing cells. Further studies are necessary to determine whether HIV-1-specific CD8+ T cells aggregate around virus-producing cells in lymphoid tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / virology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / cytology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / virology*
  • Male
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism


  • RNA, Viral