The duration of exposure to HIV modulates the breadth and the magnitude of HIV-specific memory CD4+ T cells

Souheil Antoine Younes, Lydie Trautmann, Bader Yassine-Diab, Lena H. Kalfayan, Anne Elen Kernaleguen, Thomas O. Cameron, Rachid Boulassel, Lawrence J. Stern, Jean Pierre Routy, Zvi Grossman, Alain R. Dumont, Rafick Pierre Sekaly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of exposure to Ag on the development and maintenance of human CD4+ memory T cells in general and HIV infection in particular is partially understood. In this stedy, we measured HIV-specific CD4+ T cell proliferative responses against HIV proteins and derived peptides one year after highly active antiretroviral therapy initiation in 39 HIV-infected patients who initiated therapy at different times following infection. We show that a brief exposure to HIV of <1 month does not allow the generation of significant detectable frequencies of HIV-specific CD4+ memory T cells. Patients having prolonged cumulative exposure to high viral load due to therapy failures also demonstrated limited HIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses. In contrast, patients exposed to significant levels of virus for periods ranging from 3 to 18 mo showed brisk and broad HIV-specific CD4 + T cell responses 1 year following the onset of therapy intervention. We also demonstrate that the nadir CD4+ T cell count before therapy initiation correlated positively with the breadth and magnitude of these responses. Our findings indicate that the loss of proliferative HIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses is associated with the systemic progression of the disease and that a brief exposure to HIV does not allow the establishment of detectable frequencies of HIV-specific memory CD4+ T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-797
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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