Objective: To investigate the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire usage in infants born to mothers infected with HIV-1 in order to discern possible perturbations in TCR usage as a consequence of HIV-1 infection.
Design: Blood samples from five HIV-1-infected and six non-infected children born to HIV-1-seropositive mothers were collected at two to three timepoints during the first and second year of life and the TCR variable gene usage was determined.
Methods: Triple staining flow cytometry analysis using a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAb) to TCR V alpha and V beta gene products and antibodies to CD4 and CD8 was performed.
Results: Frequent large expansions of CD8+ lymphocyte subpopulations bearing distinct V alpha and V beta gene products was seen in HIV-1-infected children (four out of five) but was rarely detected in uninfected children.
Conclusion: The study demonstrated the frequent occurrence of persistent and clonal expansions of CD8+ T cells bearing distinct V alpha/V beta gene products in some HIV-1 vertically infected infants similar to those observed during primary infection in adults.