Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A clearer understanding of HIV-1 specific immune responses in highly-exposed, persistently seronegative (HEPS) subjects is important in developing models of HIV-1 protective immunity. HIV-1 specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) have been described in a cohort of HEPS Kenyan sex workers, and recent work has further elucidated these responses. CTL specific for HIV-1 Env were found in the blood of over half the sex workers meeting criteria for HIV resistance, and in some women recognized unmapped epitopes. The proportion of women with Env-specific CTL increased with the duration of uninfected HIV exposure, suggesting that these responses were acquired over time. CD8+ lymphocyte responses directed against predefined HIV-1 CTL epitopes from various HIV-1 genes were found in the blood and genital tract of >50% resistant sex workers, at a ten-fold lower frequency than in infected subjects. The epitope specificity of CD8+ responses differs between HEPS and HIV infected women, and in HEPS the maintenance of responses appears to be dependent on persistent HIV exposure. Several HIV-1 'resistant' sex workers have become HIV infected over the past 6 years, possibly related to waning of pre-existing HIV-specific CTL, and infection has often been associated with a switch in the epitope specificity of CD8+ responses. These findings suggest that vaccine-induced protective HIV immunity is a realistic goal, but that vaccine strategies of boosting or persistent antigen may be necessary for long-lived protection.

Type

Conference paper

Publication Date

01/11/2001

Volume

79

Pages

3 - 13

Keywords

Adult, Amino Acid Sequence, Cohort Studies, Epitopes, Female, Gene Products, env, Genes, env, HIV Seronegativity, HIV Seropositivity, HIV-1, Humans, Kenya, Molecular Sequence Data, Sex Work, T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic, Time Factors