Proliferative capacity of epitope-specific CD8 T-cell responses is inversely related to viral load in chronic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection.
Day CL., Kiepiela P., Leslie AJ., van der Stok M., Nair K., Ismail N., Honeyborne I., Crawford H., Coovadia HM., Goulder PJ., Walker BD., Klenerman P.
The relationship between the function of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-specific CD8 T-cell responses and viral load has not been defined. In this study, we used a panel of major histocompatibility complex class I tetramers to examine responses to frequently targeted CD8 T-cell epitopes in a large cohort of antiretroviral-therapy-naïve HIV type 1 clade C virus-infected persons in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. In terms of effector functions of proliferation, cytokine production, and degranulation, only proliferation showed a significant correlation with viral load. This robust inverse relationship provides an important functional correlate of viral control relevant to both vaccine design and evaluation.