Expression of Activation Antigens, HLA-DR and CD38, on CD8 Lymphocytes During HIV-1 Infection

AIDS. 1992 Aug;6(8):793-7. doi: 10.1097/00002030-199208000-00004.


Objective: To study the expression of the activation markers human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR and CD38 antigen on CD8+ T-lymphocytes in HIV-infected subjects and HIV-negative controls.

Design: Two- and three-colour flow-cytometric analysis.

Methods: Fresh peripheral venous blood was obtained from 16 HIV-infected subjects, representing four different stages of HIV disease, and from six HIV-negative controls. Three-colour lymphocyte immunophenotyping was performed using peridinyl chlorophyll-A protein (PerCP)-conjugated anti-CD8 monoclonal antibody (MAb) in combination with anti-HLA-DR (phycoerythrin) and anti-CD38 (fluorescein isothiocyanate) MAb.

Results: The relative percentage of the lymphocyte populations thus defined differed between HIV-negative and HIV-positive subjects and between HIV-infected subjects at different clinical stages of disease. Simultaneous expression of HLA-DR and CD38 within the CD8 T-lymphocyte compartment increased from 8% in controls to 49% in asymptomatic HIV-infected subjects (P less than 0.005). Symptomatic patients differed from asymptomatic seropositives by a further increase in the HLA-DR+ CD38+ CD8 subset. In AIDS patients, the HLA-DR+ CD38- CD8 subset decreased (P less than 0.05) and the HLA-DR- CD38+ CD8 subset increased (P less than 0.05), compared with the other HIV disease stage patients.

Conclusion: There is a stage-associated pattern of HLA-DR and CD38 expression on CD8 T-lymphocytes during HIV infection; specific phenotypic patterns may have functional correlates in the host response to the virus.

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1
  • Antigens, CD / blood*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / blood*
  • CD8 Antigens / blood
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1*
  • HLA-DR Antigens / blood*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • CD8 Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • CD38 protein, human
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1