HLA-E up-regulation induced by HIV infection may directly contribute to CD94-mediated impairment of NK cells

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Abstract

Alterations in NK cell numbers and function have been repeatedly shown during HIV infection. In this study, NK cell number and MHC class I expression on CD4+ T cells were studied in HIV patients at different stages of disease progression. An increased expression of HLA-E was seen on CD4+ T cells. In parallel, a reduced number of CD94+ NK cells was observed in advanced disease stages. Moreover, a decline in CD94 expression on NK cells was observed at the HIV replication peak in patients undergoing antiretroviral treatment interruption, suggesting a role of viral replication on NK cells alterations. In vitro HIV infection induced a rapid down-regulation of HLA-A,B,C expression, paralleled by an increased expression of HLA-E surface molecules, the formal ligands of CD94 NK receptors. HIV-infected HLA-E expressing cells were able to inhibit NK cell cytotoxicity through HLA-E expression, since cytotoxicity was restored by antibody masking experiments. These data indicate that the CD94/HLA-E interaction may contribute to NK cell dysfunction in HIV infection, suggesting a role of HIV replication in this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Volume18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005

Keywords

  • Innate immunity
  • Natural Killer cells
  • Viral escape strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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