Effect of HIV on the frequency and number of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific CD4+ T cells in blood and the airways during latent M. tuberculosis infection

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Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) infection substantially increases the risk of developing tuberculosis. There is extensive depletion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific CD4+ T cells in blood during early HIV infection, but little is known about responses in the lungs at this stage. Given that mucosal organs are a principal target for HIV-mediated CD4+ T-cell destruction, we investigated M. tuberculosis-specific responses in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) from persons with latent M. tuberculosis infection and untreated HIV coinfection with preserved CD4+ T-cell counts. M. tuberculosis-specific CD4+ T-cell cytokine (interferon γ, tumor necrosis factor α, and interleukin 2) responses were discordant in frequency and function between BAL and blood. Responses in BAL were 15-fold lower in HIV-infected persons as compared to uninfected persons (P = .048), whereas blood responses were 2-fold lower (P = .006). However, an increase in T cells in the airways in HIV-infected persons resulted in the overall number of M. tuberculosis-specific CD4+ T cells in BAL being similar. Our study highlights the important insights gained from studying M. tuberculosis immunity at the site of disease during HIV infection.

Journal details

Volume 216
Issue number 12
Pages 1550-1560
Available online
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