Lack of evidence for a superantigen in lymphocytes from HIV-discordant monozygotic twins

Roberte Nisini, Alessandro Aiuti, Paolo M. Matricardi, Andrea Fattorossi, Cristiano Ferlini, Roberto Biselli, Ivano Mezzaroma, Elena Pinter, Raffaele D'Amelio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: An HIV-associated superantigen (SAg) has been hypothesized. Here we test whether an SAg is functionally detectable in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from monozygotic twins discordant for HIV infection. Design and methods: The Vβ selective T-cell depletion found in minor lymphocyte stimulation (Mls)-positive mice is caused by an SAg encoded by the mouse mammary tumour virus. Mls is a locus whose gene product stimulates a mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) in mice strains identical at the major histocompatibility complex locus. If an SAg is present in PBMC and/or sorted CD4+ cells from one HIV-infected monozygotic twin, it would stimulate PBMC from the corresponding healthy monozygotic twin in an MLR. In addition, if an SAg causes Vβ-selective T-cell depletion in AIDS patients, a differential proliferation to a panel of staphylococcal enterotoxins (SE) of T lymphocytes from healthy and HIV-infected monozygotic twins should become measurable. Results: No positive MLR or significant differences in the SE-driven proliferation between the healthy and the HIV-infected twins were observed. Conclusions: Our results suggest that PBMC from the two HIV-infected twins do not express a functionally detectable SAg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS (London, England)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1994


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Monozygotic twins
  • Superantigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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