Dressed to kill? A review of why antiviral CD8 T lymphocytes fail to prevent progressive immunodeficiency in HIV-1 infection
CD8 T cells play an important role in protection and control of HIV-1 by direct cytolysis of infected cells and by suppression of viral replication by secreted factors.
However, although HIV-1-infected individuals have a high frequency of HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells, viral reservoirs persist and progressive immunodeficiency generally ensues in the absence of continuous potent antiviral drugs. Freshly isolated HIV-specific CD8 T cells are often unable to lyse HIV-1-infected cells. Maturation into competent cytotoxic T lymphocytes may be blocked during the initial encounter with antigen because of defects in antigen presentation by interdigitating dendritic cells or HIV-infected macrophages.
The molecular basis for impaired function is multifactorial, due to incomplete T-cell signalling and activation (in part related to CD3zeta and CD28 down-modulation), reduced perforin expression, and inefficient trafficking of HIV-specific CD8 T cells to lymphoid sites of infection. CD8 T-cell dysfunction can partially be corrected in vitro with short-term exposure to interleukin 2, suggesting that impaired HIV-specific CD4 T helper function may play a significant causal or exacerbating role. Functional defects are qualitatively different and more severe with advanced disease, when interferon gamma production also becomes compromised.
Lieberman J et al. Dressed to kill? A review of why antiviral CD8 T lymphocytes fail to prevent progressive immunodeficiency in HIV-1 infection. Blood 2001 Sep 15;98(6):1667-77.