Antiretroviral Therapy Restores Diversity in the T-Cell Receptor Vβ Repertoire of CD4 T-Cell Subpopulations among Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Infected Children and Adolescents

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection perturbs the T-cell receptor (TCR) Vβ repertoire. The TCR CDR3 length diversity of individual Vβ families was examined within CD45RA and CD45RO CD4 T cells to assess the impact of the virus on clonality throughout CD4 T-cell activation and differentiation. A cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort study of 13 HIV-infected and 8 age-matched healthy children and adolescents examined the Vβ CDR3 length profiles within CD4 T-cell subsets by the use of spectratyping. HIV-infected subjects demonstrated higher numbers of perturbations in CD4 CD45RA T cells (5.8 ± 4.9 Vβ families) than healthy individuals (1.6 ± 1.8 Vβ families) (P = 0.04). Surprisingly, CD4 CD45RO central memory T cells from infected subjects showed no increased perturbations compared to the perturbations for the same cells from healthy subjects (2.9 ± 3.1 and 1.1 ± 1.8 Vβ families, respectively; P = 0.11). CD4 CD45RA TCR perturbations were higher among infected subjects with >25% CD4 cells than healthy subjects (mean number of perturbed Vβ families, 6.6 ± 5.4; P = 0.04). No correlations between perturbations in CD4 subsets and pretherapy age or viral load were evident. In contrast to CD8 T cells, HIV induces TCR disruptions within CD45RA but not CD45RO CD4 T cells. Therapy-induced viral suppression resulted in increases in thymic output and the normalization of the diversity of TCR within CD45RA CD4 T cells after 2 months of treatment. Perturbations occur prior to CD4 T-cell attrition and normalize with effective antiretroviral therapy. The impact of HIV on the diversity of TCR within naïve, central memory, and effector memory CD4 T cells is distinctly different from that in CD8 T cells.

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Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, v. 16, issue 9, p. 1293-1301