HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursors exist in a CD28-CD8+ T cell subset and increase with loss of CD4 T cells

Dorothy E. Lewis, Lixia Yang, Wei Luo, Xiao ping Wang, John R. Rodgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine whether the CD28-CD8+ T cells that develop during HIV infection contain HIV-specific cytotoxic precursor cells. Design: CD8 subpopulations from six asymptomatic HIV-positive adults, with varying degrees of CD4 T cell loss, were sorted by flow cytometry and HIV-specific precursor cytotoxic T lymphocyte frequencies were measured. Three populations of CD8 T cells were tested: CD28+CD57- T cells, CD28-CD57+ T cells (thought to be memory cells) and CD28-CD57- T cells (function unknown). Methods: Sorted CD8 subsets were stimulated with antigen presenting cells expressing HIV-1 Gag/Pol molecules. Cytotoxic T cell assays on Gag/Pol expressing 51Cr-labeled Epstein-Barr virus transformed autologous B cells lines or control targets were performed after 2 weeks. Specific lysis and precursor frequencies were calculated. Results: Both CD28 positive and CD28-CD57+ populations contained appreciable numbers of precursors (9-1720 per 106 CD8+ T cells). However, the CD28-CD57- population had fewer precursors in five out of six people studied. More CD28 positive HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte precursors were found in patients with CD4:CD8 ratios > 1, whereas more CD28-CD57+ precursors were found patients whose CD4:CD8 ratios were < 1 (r2, 0.68). Conclusions: Memory HIV-specific precursor cytotoxic T lymphocytes are found in both CD28 positive and CD28-CD8+ cells, however, a CD28-CD57- subpopulation had fewer. Because CD28-CD57+ cells are antigen-driven with limited diversity, the loss of CD28 on CD8 T cells during disease progression may reduce the response to new HIV mutations; this requires further testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1033
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1999


  • CD28
  • Cytotoxic T lymphocyte
  • Flow cytometry
  • HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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