Effects of HIV-1 Infection on Lymphocyte Phenotypes in Blood Versus Lymph Nodes

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Summary:Most immunopathogenesis studies of HIV-1 use peripheral blood. Most lymphocytes reside in lymphoid tissues, however, and the extent to which blood mirrors tissues is unclear. Here, we analyze lymphocytes in blood and lymph nodes of HIV-1-uninfected and -infected persons. Baseline comparison of node and blood lymphocytes in seronegative persons demonstrates a lower ratio of CD8+ versus CD4+ T lymphocytes, a lower number of effector cells (CD28) within the CD8+ compartment, and greater activation (D-receptor [DR+]) within the CD4+ compartment. In infected versus uninfected persons, nodes exhibit elevated CD8+ T lymphocytes with an increased memory-effector phenotype (CD62L/CD45RA) and activation (CD38+ and DR+) but minimal differences in the CD4+ compartment. Changes attributable to HIV-1 infection are markedly greater in node lymphocytes than in blood. Comparisons of CD8+ T-lymphocyte parameters and viremia in infected persons reveal positive correlations of CD38+ expression on cells in blood and nodes and a negative correlation of terminal effector cells (CD62L/CD45RA+) in the nodes to viremia. Multiple linear regression analysis indicates that CD38 expression on node (not blood) CD8+ T lymphocytes is the sole independent predictor for viremia. Thus, blood indirectly reflects processes in lymphoid tissues, and caution should be applied when interpreting immunopathogenesis studies of blood.

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