Polyfunctional T cell responses are a hallmark of HIV-2 infection

Eur J Immunol. 2008 Feb;38(2):350-63. doi: 10.1002/eji.200737768.


HIV-2 is distinguished clinically and immunologically from HIV-1 infection by delayed disease progression and maintenance of HIV-specific CD4(+) T cell help in most infected subjects. Thus, HIV-2 provides a unique natural human model in which to investigate correlates of immune protection against HIV disease progression. Here, we report a detailed assessment of the HIV-2-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell response compared to HIV-1, using polychromatic flow cytometry to assess the quality of the HIV-specific T cell response by measuring IFN-gamma, IL-2, TNF-alpha, MIP-1beta, and CD107a mobilization (degranulation) simultaneously following Gag peptide stimulation. We find that HIV-2-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells are more polyfunctional that those specific for HIV-1 and that polyfunctional HIV-2-specific T cells produce more IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha on a per-cell basis than monofunctional T cells. Polyfunctional HIV-2-specific CD4(+) T cells were generally more differentiated and expressed CD57, while there was no association between function and phenotype in the CD8(+) T cell fraction. Polyfunctional HIV-specific T cell responses are a hallmark of non-progressive HIV-2 infection and may be related to good clinical outcome in this setting.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • HIV-2 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / virology


  • Cytokines
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte