Deregulation of the Fas/FasL pathway in activated T cells is suspected to contribute to the abnormal apoptosis that drives their progressive depletion during HIV-1 infection. However, the role of serum soluble Fas (sFas) is unclear. Here we investigated both sFas and anti-Fas IgG levels in a cohort of 227 HIV-1-infected patients with respect to their T cell apoptosis. By using optimized ELISAs, we found that serum titers of sFas and anti-Fas were linearly correlated in 17 severely lymphopenic subjects as compared with other patients grouped in relation to their single expression of anti-Fas and sFas, or with double-negative control patients. Cytofluorimetric measurement of the subdiploid DNA-containing cell population by both PI and TUNEL revealed an increased occurrence of cell death in vitro, in particular in patients with elevations of sFas. We also found that fresh CD4+ cells from these patients showed high levels of both caspase 3 (CPP32) and its molecular targets, namely PARP and CK18. In addition, their in vitro proliferative rate was inhibited by sFas, in particular in patients with undetectable levels of the soluble receptor in vivo as well as in normal donors. In these subjects the Fas-related caspase 8 (FLICE) was significantly increased in cells treated with the recombinant Fas. These results support the contention that functionally exhausted T cells may undergo apoptosis in response to the persistent in vivo stimulation by sFas. This may elucidate the described occurrence of enhanced cell death in advanced HIV-1 infection in association with serum elevations of the soluble receptor.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
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