Cytomegalovirus-Specific T-Cells Are Associated with Immune Senescence, But Not With Systemic Inflammation, in People Living with HIV

Ballegaard et al., Sci Rep. (2018) - PMID: 29491459

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In people living with HIV (PLWHIV), coinfection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been associated with inflammation, immunological ageing, and increased risk of severe non-AIDS related comorbidity. The effect of CMV-specific immune responses on systemic inflammation, immune activation and T-cell senescence was evaluated in 53 PLWHIV treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Activated-, terminally differentiated-, naïve-, and senescent T-cells were assessed by flow cytometry, and plasma levels of CMV IgG, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and soluble-CD14 were measured. In PLWHIV, expression of interleukin-2, tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ was measured by intracellular-cytokine-staining after stimulation of T-cells with CMV-pp65, CMV-IE1, and CMV-gB. Increased CMV-specific T-cell responses were associated with a higher ratio of terminally differentiated/naïve CD8+ T-cells and with increased proportions of senescent CD8+ T-cells, but not with systemic inflammation or sCD14. Increased CMV-specific CD4+ T-cell responses were associated with increased proportions of activated CD8+ T-cells. In PLWHIV with expansion of CMV-specific T-cells or increased T-cell senescence, CMV-specific polyfunctionality was maintained. That the magnitude of the CMV-specific T-cell response was associated with a senescent immune phenotype, suggests that a dysregulated immune response against CMV may contribute to the immunological ageing often described in PLWHIV despite stable cART.

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