Regulatory T-cell activity but not conventional HIV-specific T-cell responses are associated with protection from HIV-1 infection.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999), Volume 72, Issue 2, p.119-128 (2016)


OBJECTIVE: Two distinct hypotheses have been proposed for T-cell involvement in protection from HIV-1 acquisition. First, HIV-1-specific memory T-cell responses generated upon HIV-1 exposure could mount an efficient response to HIV-1 and inhibit the establishment of an infection. Second, a lower level of immune activation could reduce the numbers of activated, HIV-1-susceptible CD4+ T-cells, thereby diminishing the likelihood of infection. METHODS: To test these hypotheses, we conducted a prospective study among high-risk heterosexual men and women, and tested peripheral blood samples from individuals who subsequently acquired HIV-1 during follow-up (cases) and from a subset of those who remained HIV-1 uninfected (controls). RESULTS: We found no difference in HIV-1-specific immune responses between cases and controls, but Treg frequency was higher in controls as compared to cases and was negatively associated with frequency of effector memory CD4+ T-cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the hypothesis that low immune activation assists in protection from HIV-1 infection.