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IL-2 Immunotherapy to Recently HIV-1 Infected Adults Maintains the Numbers of IL-17 Expressing CD4+ T (TH17) Cells in the Periphery

  • Author(s): Ndhlovu, Lishomwa C.
  • Sinclair, Elizabeth
  • Epling, Lorrie
  • Tan, Qi Xuan
  • Ho, Terence
  • Jha, Aashish R.
  • Eccles-James, Ijeoma
  • Tincati, Camilla
  • Levy, Jay A.
  • Nixon, Douglas F.
  • Hecht, Frederick M.
  • Barbour, Jason D.
  • et al.
Abstract

Little is known about the manipulation of IL-17 producing CD4+ T cells (TH17) on a per-cell basis in humans in vivo. Previous studies on the effects of IL-2 on IL-17 secretion in non-HIV models have shown divergent results. We hypothesized that IL-2 would mediate changes in IL-17 levels among recently HIV-1-infected adults receiving anti-retroviral therapy. We measured cytokine T cell responses to CD3/CD28, HIV-1 Gag, and CMV pp65 stimulation, and changes in multiple CD4+ T cell subsets. Those who received IL-2 showed a robust expansion of naive and total CD4+ T cell counts and T-reg counts. However, after IL-2 treatment, the frequency of TH17 cells declined, while counts of TH17 cells did not change due to an expansion of the CD4+ naïve T cell population (CD27+CD45RA+). Counts of HIV-1 Gag-specific T cells declined modestly, but CMV pp65 and CD3/CD28 stimulated populations did not change. Hence, in contrast with recent studies, our results suggest IL-2 is not a potent in vivo regulator of TH17 cell populations in HIV-1 disease. However, IL-2-mediated T-reg expansions may selectively reduce responses to certain antigen-specific populations, such as HIV-1 Gag.

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