Profound metabolic, functional, and cytolytic differences characterize HIV-specific CD8 T cells in primary and chronic HIV infection.
ABSTRACT: Immediate-early host-virus interactions that occur during the first weeks after HIV infection have a major impact on disease progression. The mechanisms underlying the failure of HIV-specific CD8 T-cell response to persist and control viral replication early in infection are yet to be characterized. In this study, we performed a thorough phenotypic, gene expression and functional analysis to compare HIV-specific CD8 T cells in acutely and chronically infected subjects. We showed that HIV-specific CD8 T cells in primary infection can be distinguished by their metabolic state, rate of proliferation, and susceptibility to apoptosis. HIV-specific CD8 T cells in acute/early HIV infection secreted less IFN-? but were more cytotoxic than their counterparts in chronic infection. Importantly, we showed that the levels of IL-7R expression and the capacity of HIV-specific CD8 T cells to secrete IL-2 on antigenic restimulation during primary infection were inversely correlated with the viral set-point. Altogether, these data suggest an altered metabolic state of HIV-specific CD8 T cells in primary infection resulting from hyperproliferation and stress induced signals, demonstrate the discordant function of HIV-specific CD8 T cells during early/acute infection, and highlight the importance of T-cell maintenance for viral control.
Project description:CD4+ T cells play a pivotal role in the control of chronic viral infections. Recently, nontraditional CD4+ T cell functions beyond helper effects have been described, and a role for cytolytic CD4+ T cells in the control of HIV infection has been suggested. We define here the transcriptional, phenotypic, and functional profiles of HIV-specific cytolytic CD4+ T cells. Fluidigm BioMark and multiparameter flow cytometric analysis of HIV-specific cytolytic CD4+ T cells revealed a distinct transcriptional signature compared to Th1 CD4+ cells but shared similar features with HIV-specific cytolytic CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, HIV-specific cytolytic CD4+ T cells showed comparable killing activity relative to HIV-specific CD8+ T cells and worked cooperatively in the elimination of virally infected cells. Interestingly, we found that cytolytic CD4+ T cells emerge early during acute HIV infection and tightly follow acute viral load trajectory. This emergence was associated to the early viral set point, suggesting an involvement in early control, in spite of CD4 T cell susceptibility to HIV infection. Our data suggest cytolytic CD4+ T cells as an independent subset distinct from Th1 cells that show combined activity with CD8+ T cells in the long-term control of HIV infection.The ability of the immune system to control chronic HIV infection is of critical interest to both vaccine design and therapeutic approaches. Much research has focused on the effect of the ability of CD8+ T cells to control the virus, while CD4+ T cells have been overlooked as effectors in HIV control due to the fact that they are preferentially infected. We show here that a subset of HIV-specific CD4+ T cells cooperate in the cytolytic control of HIV replication. Moreover, these cells represent a distinct subset of CD4+ T cells showing significant transcriptional and phenotypic differences compared to HIV-specific Th1 cells but with similarities to CD8+ T cells. These findings are important for our understanding of HIV immunopathology.
Project description:Early immunological events during acute HIV infection are thought to fundamentally influence long-term disease outcome. Whereas the contribution of HIV-specific CD8 T cell responses to early viral control is well established, the role of HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses in the control of viral replication after acute infection is unknown. A growing body of evidence suggests that CD4 T cells-besides their helper function-have the capacity to directly recognize and kill virally infected cells. In a longitudinal study of a cohort of individuals acutely infected with HIV, we observed that subjects able to spontaneously control HIV replication in the absence of antiretroviral therapy showed a significant expansion of HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses-but not CD8 T cell responses-compared to subjects who progressed to a high viral set point (P = 0.038). Markedly, this expansion occurred before differences in viral load or CD4 T cell count and was characterized by robust cytolytic activity and expression of a distinct profile of perforin and granzymes at the earliest time point. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the emergence of granzyme A(+) HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses at baseline was highly predictive of slower disease progression and clinical outcome (average days to CD4 T cell count <350/?l was 575 versus 306, P = 0.001). These data demonstrate that HIV-specific CD4 T cell responses can be used during the earliest phase of HIV infection as an immunological predictor of subsequent viral set point and disease outcome. Moreover, these data suggest that expansion of granzyme A(+) HIV-specific cytolytic CD4 T cell responses early during acute HIV infection contributes substantially to the control of viral replication.
Project description:In recent years, the prevalence of HIV-1 infection has been rapidly increasing among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, it remains unknown how the host immune system responds to the infection in this population. We assessed the quantity of HIV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses by using Elispot assay and their functionalities by measuring 5 CD8(+) T-cell evaluations (IL-2, MIP-1?, CD107a, TNF-?, IFN-?) with flow cytometry assays among 18 primarily and 37 early chronically HIV-infected MSM. Our results demonstrated that subjects at early chronic phase developed HIV-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses with higher magnitudes and more diversified functionalities in comparison with those at primary infection. However, populations with IL-2(+) CD107a(+) or in combination with other functionality failed to develop in parallel. The multifunctional but not monofunctional HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells were associated with higher CD4(+) T -cell counts and lower viral loads. These data revealed that prolonged infection from primary to early chronic infection could selectively increase the functionalities of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells in HIV-infected MSM population, the failure to develop IL-2 and cytotoxic functionalities in parallel may explain why the increased HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells were unable to enhance the containment of HIV-1 replication at the early chronic stage.
Project description:Cytolytic CD4+ T cells play a prominent role in chronic viral infection. CD4+ CTLs clones specific for HIV-1 Nef and Gag are capable of killing HIV-1 infected CD4+ T cells and macrophages. Additionally, HIV-specific cytolytic CD4+ T cell responses in acute HIV infection are predictive of disease progression. CD57 expression on CD4s identifies cytolytic cells. These cells were dramatically increased in chronic HIV infection. CD57 expression correlated with cytolytic granules, granzyme B and perforin expression. They express lower CCR5 compared to CD57- cells, have less HIV total DNA, and were a minor component of the HIV reservoir. A small percentage of CD57+ CD4+ CTLs from EC were HIV-specific, could upregulate IFN? with Gag peptide stimulation, express cytolytic granule markers and maintain TbethighEomes+ transcription factor phenotype. This was not observed in viraemic controllers. The maintenance of HIV-specific CD4 cytolytic function in Elite controllers together with CD8 CTLs may be important for the control of HIV viraemia and of potential relevance to cure strategies.
Project description:Poor maintenance of cytotoxic factor expression among HIV-specific CD8+ T cells, in part caused by dysregulated expression of the transcription factor T-bet, is associated with HIV disease progression. However, the precise evolution and context in which CD8+ T cell cytotoxic functions become dysregulated in HIV infection remain unclear. Using the rhesus macaque (RM) SIV infection model, we evaluated the kinetics of SIV-specific CD8+ T cell cytolytic factor expression in peripheral blood, lymph node, spleen, and gut mucosa from early acute infection through chronic infection. We identified rapid acquisition of perforin and granzyme B expression in SIV-specific CD8+ T cells in blood, secondary lymphoid tissues and gut mucosa that collapsed rapidly during the transition to chronic infection. The evolution of this expression profile was linked to low expression of T-bet and occurred independent of epitope specificity, viral escape patterns and tissue origin. Importantly, during acute infection SIV-specific CD8+ T cells that maintained T-bet expression retained the ability to express granzyme B after stimulation, but this relationship was lost in chronic infection. Together, these data demonstrate the loss of cytolytic machinery in SIV-specific CD8+ T cells in blood and at tissue sites of viral reservoir and active replication during the transition from acute to chronic infection. This phenomenon occurs despite persistent high levels of viremia suggesting that an inability to maintain properly regulated cytotoxic T cell responses in all tissue sites enables HIV/SIV to avoid immune clearance, establish persistent viral reservoirs in lymphoid tissues and gut mucosa, and lead ultimately to immunopathogenesis and death.
Project description:Although CD8(+) T cells play an important role in the containment of adult HIV-1 replication, their role in infant HIV-1 infection is not as well understood. Impaired HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell responses may underlie the persistently high viral loads observed in infants. We examined the frequency and phenotype of infant HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells in 7 HIV-infected antiretroviral therapy-naïve infants during the first 2 years of life, using class I HLA tetramers and IFN-?-ELISPOT. The frequency (0.088-3.9% of CD3(+)CD8(+) cells) and phenotype (CD27(+)CD28(-), CD45RA(+/-), CD57(+/-), HLA-DR(+), CD95(+)) of infant HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells were similar to reports in adults undergoing early infection. Unlike adults, at 23-24 months post-infection a high frequency of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells expressed HLA-DR (mean 80%, range 68-85%) and CD95 (mean 88%, range 79-96%), suggesting sustained activation and vulnerability to apoptosis. Despite comparable expansion of HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells of a similar phenotype to adults during early infection, infant T cells failed to contain HIV-1 replication, and remained persistently activated and vulnerable to apoptosis during chronic infection.
Project description:Understanding early immunological events during HIV-1 infection that may set the course of disease progression is important for identifying correlates of viral control. This study explores the association of differentiation profiles of HIV-specific and total memory CD8(+) T cells with viral set point. A cohort of 47 HIV-1-infected individuals, with differing viral set points at 12 mo, were recruited during acute infection. We identified that the magnitude of IFN-gamma(+) T cell responses at 6 mo postinfection did not associate with viral set point at 12 mo. A subset of 16 individuals was further studied to characterize CD8(+) T cells for expression patterns of markers for memory differentiation, survival (CD127), senescence (CD57), and negative regulation (programmed death-1). We show that viral control and the predicted tempo of HIV disease progression in the first year of infection was associated with a synchronous differentiation of HIV-specific and total CD8(+) memory subpopulations. At 6-9 mo postinfection, those with low viral set points had a significantly higher proportion of early differentiated HIV-specific and total memory CD8(+) cells of a central memory (CD45RO(+)CD27(+)CCR7(+)) and intermediate memory (CD45RO(-)CD27(+)CCR7(-)) phenotype. Those with high viral set points possessed significantly larger frequencies of effector memory (CD45RO(+)CD27(-)CCR7(-)) cells. The proportions of memory subsets significantly correlated with CD38(+)CD8(+) T cells. Thus, it is likely that a high Ag burden resulting in generalized immune activation may drive differentiation of HIV-specific and total memory CD8(+) T cells.
Project description:The strong CD8+ T-cell-mediated HIV-1-suppressive capacity found in a minority of HIV-infected patients in chronic infection is associated with spontaneous control of viremia. However, it is still unclear whether such capacities were also present earlier in the CD8+ T cells from non controller patients and then lost as a consequence of uncontrolled viral replication. We studied 50 patients with primary HIV-1-infection to determine whether strong CD8+ T-cell-mediated HIV suppression is more often observed at that time. Despite high frequencies of polyfunctional HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells and a strong CD4+ T-helper response, CD8+ T-cells from 48 patients lacked strong HIV-suppressive capacities ex vivo. This indicates that the superior HIV-suppressive capacity of CD8+ T-cells from HIV controllers is not a general characteristic of the HIV-specific CD8+ T cell response in primary HIV infection.
Project description:The important role of the CD8+ T-cells on HIV control is well established. However, correlates of immune protection remain elusive. Although the importance of CD8+ T-cell specificity and functionality in virus control has been underscored, further unraveling the link between CD8+ T-cell differentiation and viral control is needed. Here, an immunophenotypic analysis (in terms of memory markers and Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) expression) of the CD8+ T-cell subset found in primary HIV infection (PHI) was performed. The aim was to seek for associations with functional properties of the CD8+ T-cell subsets, viral control and subsequent disease progression. Also, results were compared with samples from Chronics and Elite Controllers. It was found that normal maturation of total and HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells into memory subsets is skewed in PHI, but not at the dramatic level observed in Chronics. Within the HIV-specific compartment, this alteration was evidenced by an accumulation of effector memory CD8+ T (TEM) cells over fully differentiated terminal effector CD8+ T (TTE) cells. Furthermore, higher proportions of total and HIV-specific CD8+ TEM cells and higher HIV-specific TEM/(TEM+TTE) ratio correlated with markers of faster progression. Analysis of PD-1 expression on total and HIV-specific CD8+ T-cells from PHI subjects revealed not only an association with disease progression but also with skewed memory CD8+ T-cell differentiation. Most notably, significant direct correlations were obtained between the functional capacity of CD8+ T-cells to inhibit viral replication in vitro with higher proportions of fully-differentiated HIV-specific CD8+ TTE cells, both at baseline and at 12 months post-infection. Thus, a relationship between preservation of CD8+ T-cell differentiation pathway and cell functionality was established. This report presents evidence concerning the link among CD8+ T-cell function, phenotype and virus control, hence supporting the instauration of early interventions to prevent irreversible immune damage.
Project description:Early events during primary HIV infection (PHI) are thought to influence disease outcome. Although a growing body of evidence suggests a beneficial role of HIV-specific CD4 help in HIV infection, it is unclear how early viral replication, systemic immune activation, and antiretroviral therapy (ART) may shape CD4 T-cell responses during PHI, and whether HIV-specific CD4 responses contribute to the high immune activation observed in PHI. Twenty-seven patients with early PHI were included in a prospective longitudinal study and 12 of them received ART after enrollment. Fresh peripheral blood mononuclear cells were used for measurement of ex vivo T-cell activation and of cytokine-producing CD4 T-cells following stimulation with PMA/ionomycin or HIV-1-gag-p24 antigen. Patients were segregated based on CD8 T-cell activation level (i.e., % HLA-DR+CD38+ CD8 T-cells) at baseline (BL). Patients with lower immune activation exhibited higher frequency of bulk CD4 T-cells producing IFN-? or IL-17 and higher effector-to-regulatory cell ratios. No differences were found in HIV-specific CD4 T-cell frequencies. In contrast, segregation of patients based on plasma viral load (pVL) revealed that patients with higher pVL showed higher cytokine-producing HIV-specific CD4 responses. Of note, the frequency of IFN-?+ HIV-specific CD4 T cells significantly diminished between BL and month 6 only in ART-treated patients. However, early treatment initiation was associated with better maintenance of HIV-specific IFN-?+ CD4 T-cells. These data suggest that HIV-specific CD4 responses do not fuel systemic T-cell activation and are driven by viral replication but not able to contribute to its control in the early phase of infection. Moreover, our data also suggest a benefit of early treatment for the maintenance of HIV-specific CD4 T-cell help.