HIV-specific CD8+ T-cell proliferation is prospectively associated with delayed disease progression

Immunol Cell Biol. 2012 Mar;90(3):346-51. doi: 10.1038/icb.2011.44. Epub 2011 May 24.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific CD8(+) T-cell proliferation is consistently correlated with enhanced host HIV immune control, but whether proliferative responses are a cause or consequence of immune protection is unclear. We measured Env-specific CD8(+) T-cell proliferation and interferon (IFN)-γ secretion in HIV-infected participants with CD4 counts >200, who then completed 121 person-years of prospective follow-up to monitor HIV disease progression. In all, 13 of 31 participants (42%) reached end point during longitudinal follow-up. Strong Env-specific CD8(+) T-cell proliferation (>10% of CD8(+) T cells) was observed in 14/31 participants at baseline, and this was associated with a longer time to HIV disease progression end point, stratified baseline CD4 count (P=0.016). No associations were observed for IFN-γ ELISPOT responses and progression (P>0.2). Strong proliferation remained significant in multivariate Cox regression analyses (P=0.044) as an independent predictor of delayed HIV disease progression, along with baseline CD4 count (P=0.04). Duration of HIV infection was associated with more rapid progression in univariate, but not multivariate, analysis (P=0.112). Age and baseline viral load were not predictive of progression. HIV-specific CD8(+) T-cell proliferation was a correlate of protective immunity in this prospective study; such responses may be important for HIV vaccine protection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / metabolism


  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Interferon-gamma