Interleukin-10-secreting T cells define a suppressive subset within the HIV-1-specific T-cell population

Eur J Immunol. 2009 May;39(5):1280-7. doi: 10.1002/eji.200839002.


Recent studies have indicated that Treg contribute to the HIV type 1 (HIV-1)-related immune pathogenesis. However, it is not clear whether T cells with suppressive properties reside within the HIV-1-specific T-cell population. Here, PBMC from HIV-1-infected individuals were stimulated with a 15-mer Gag peptide pool, and HIV-1-specific T cells were enriched by virtue of their secretion of IL-10 or IFN-gamma using immunomagnetic cell-sorting. Neither the IL-10-secreting cells nor the IFN-gamma-secreting cells expressed the Treg marker FOXP3, yet the IL-10-secreting cells potently suppressed anti-CD3/CD28-induced CD4(+) as well as CD8(+) T-cell proliferative responses. As shown by intracellular cytokine staining, IL-10- and IFN-gamma-producing T cells represent distinct subsets of the HIV-1-specific T cells. Our data collectively suggest that functionally defined HIV-1-specific T-cell subsets harbor potent immunoregulatory properties that may contribute to HIV-1-associated T-cell dysfunction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / blood
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / immunology
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunomagnetic Separation
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma