CD4+ T cell responses in HIV-exposed seronegative women are qualitatively distinct from those in HIV-infected women

J Infect Dis. 2005 Jan 1;191(1):20-4. doi: 10.1086/425998. Epub 2004 Dec 1.


The immune response of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-exposed seronegative (ESN) women may be qualitatively different from that in those infected with HIV (HIV(+)). In a cohort of female commercial sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya, we found significantly lower (P< or =.01) levels of CD4(+)-specific immune activation and apoptosis in the ESN women compared with those in the HIV(+) women. Compared with the HIV(+) women, a lower proportion of the ESN women showed p24 peptide pool responses by the short-term, CD4(+)-specific, interferon (IFN)- gamma intracellular cytokine staining assay, whereas the proportion showing responses by the long-term, CD8(+)-depleted T cell proliferation assay was similar. Interestingly, the ESN responders had a 4.5-fold stronger proliferation response (P=.002) than the HIV(+) group. These data suggest that, compared with those in HIV(+) women, CD4(+) T cells in ESN women have a much greater ability to proliferate in response to p24 peptides.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV / immunology
  • HIV / isolation & purification
  • HIV Core Protein p24 / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Seronegativity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Kenya
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Phytohemagglutinins / immunology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Interferon-gamma