Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools
HIV replication can be inhibited by CXCR5+ CD8 T cells (follicular cytotoxic T cell [TFC]) which transfer into B-cell follicles where latent HIV infection persists. However, how cytokines affect TFC remain unclear. Understanding which cytokines show the ability to affect TFC could be a key strategy toward curing HIV. Similar mechanisms could be used for the growth and transfer of TFCs and follicular helper T (TFH) cells; as a result, we hypothesized that cytokines IL-6, IL-21, and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), which are necessary for the differentiation of TFH cells, could also dictate the development of TFCs. In this work, lymph node mononuclear cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-infected individuals were cocultured with IL-6, IL-21, and TGF-β. We then carried out T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire analysis to compare the differences between CXCR5- and CXCR5+ CD8 T cells. Our results showed that the percentage and function of TFC can be enhanced by stimulation with TGF-β. Besides, TGF-β stimulation enhanced the diversity of TCR and complementarity-determining region 3 sequences. HIV DNA showed a negative correlation with TFC. The use of TGF-β to promote the expression of CXCR5+ CD8 T cells could become a new treatment approach for curing HIV.