Regulatory T cell suppression of Gag-specific CD8 T cell polyfunctional response after therapeutic vaccination of HIV-1-infected patients on ART

PLoS One. 2010 Mar 24;5(3):e9852. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009852.

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that therapeutic vaccination against HIV-1 can increase the frequency and suppressive function of regulatory, CD4(+) T cells (Treg), thereby masking enhancement of HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T cell response. HIV-1-infected subjects on antiretroviral therapy (N = 17) enrolled in a phase I therapeutic vaccine trial received 2 doses of autologous dendritic cells (DC) loaded with HIV-1 peptides. The frequency of CD4(+)CD25(hi)FOXP3(+) Treg in blood was determined prior to and after vaccination in subjects and normal controls. Polyfunctional CD8(+) T cell responses were determined pre- and post-vaccine (N = 7) for 5 immune mediators after in vitro stimulation with Gag peptide, staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), or medium alone. Total vaccine response (post-vaccine-pre-vaccine) was compared in the Treg(+) and Treg-depleted (Treg-) sets. After vaccination, 12/17 subjects showed a trend of increased Treg frequency (P = 0.06) from 0.74% to 1.2%. The increased frequency did not correlate with CD8(+) T cell vaccine response by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay for interferon gamma production. Although there was no significant change in CD8(+) T cell polyfunctional response after vaccination, Treg depletion increased the polyfunctionality of the total vaccine response (P = 0.029), with a >2-fold increase in the percentage of CD8(+) T cells producing multiple immune mediators. In contrast, depletion of Treg did not enhance polyfunctional T cell response to SEB, implying specificity of suppression to HIV-1 Gag. Therapeutic immunization with a DC-based vaccine against HIV-1 caused a modest increase in Treg frequency and a significant increase in HIV-1-specific, Treg suppressive function. The Treg suppressive effect masked an increase in the vaccine-induced anti-HIV-1-specific polyfunctional response. The role of Treg should be considered in immunotherapeutic trials of HIV-1 infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Male
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / metabolism*

Substances

  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Interferon-gamma