Publications & Reports

Restoration of CD4+ Responses to Copathogens in HIV-Infected Individuals on Antiretroviral Therapy Is Dependent on T Cell Memory Phenotype.

Catherine Riou, Ramla F Tanko, Andreia P Soares, Lindi Masson, Lise Werner, Nigel J Garrett, Natasha Samsunder, Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Salim S Abdool Karim, Wendy A Burgers
Division of Medical Virology and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) induces rapid suppression of viral replication and a progressive replenishment of CD4(+) T cells in HIV-infected individuals. However, the effect of ART on restoring pre-existing memory CD4(+) T cells specific for common copathogens is still unclear. To better understand the dynamics of Ag-specific CD4(+) T cells during ART, we assessed the frequency, functional capacity, and memory profile of CD4(+) T cells specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis and CMV in 15 HIV-infected individuals before and 1 y after ART initiation. After ART initiation, the frequency of M. tuberculosis-specific CD4(+) T cells showed little change, whereas CMV-specific CD4(+) T cells were significantly lower (p = 0.003). There was no difference in the polyfunctional or memory profile of Ag-specific CD4(+) T cells before and after ART. The replenishment of Ag-specific CD4(+) T cells correlated with the memory differentiation profile of these cells prior to ART. Pathogen-specific CD4(+) T cells exhibiting a late differentiated profile (CD45RO(+)CD27(-)) had a lower capacity to replenish (p = 0.019; r = -0.5) compared with cells with an early differentiated profile (CD45RO(+)CD27(+); p = 0.04; r = 0.45). In conclusion, restoration of copathogen-specific memory CD4(+) T cells during treated HIV infection is related to their memory phenotype, in which early differentiated cells (such as most M. tuberculosis-specific cells) have a higher replenishment capacity compared with late differentiated cells (such as most CMV-specific cells). These data identify an important, hitherto unrecognized, factor that may limit restoration of copathogen immunity in HIV-infected individuals on ART.


  • Journal: Journal of Immunology
  • Published: 01/09/2015
  • Volume: 195
  • Issue: 5
  • Pagination: 2273-2281