Protection versus pathology in aviremic and high viral load HIV-2 infection - The pivotal role of immune activation and T-cell kinetics

Andrea Hegedus, Samuel Nyamweya, Yan Zhang, Sheila Govind, Richard Aspinall, Alla Mashanova, Vincent A.A. Jansen, Hilton Whittle, Assan Jaye, Katie L. Flanagan, Derek C. Macallan

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Background. Many human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-2-infected individuals remain aviremic and behave as long-term non-progressors but some progress to AIDS.We hypothesized that immune activation and T-cell turnover would be critical determinants of non-progressor/progressor status. Methods. We studied 37 subjects in The Gambia, West Africa: 10 HIV-negative controls, 10 HIV-2-infected subjects with low viral loads (HIV-2-LV), 7 HIV-2-infected subjects with high viral loads (HIV-2-HV), and 10 with HIV-1 infection. We measured in vivo T-cell turnover using deuterium-glucose labeling, and correlated results with T-cell phenotype (by flow cytometry) and T-cell receptor excision circle (TREC) abundance. Results. Immune activation (HLA-DR/CD38 coexpression) differed between groups with a significant trend: controls <HIV-2-LV <HIV-1 <HIV-2-HV (P < .01 for all cell types). A similar trend was observed in the pattern of in vivo turnover of memory CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells and TREC depletion in naive CD4+ T-cells, although naive T-cell turnover was relatively unaffected by either infection. T-cell turnover, immune activation, and progressor status were closely associated. Conclusions. HIV-2 non-progressors have low rates of T-cell turnover (both CD4+ and CD8+) and minimal immune activation; high viral load HIV-2 progressors had high values, similar to or exceeding those in HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-761
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • CD4
  • CD8
  • HIV pathogenesis
  • HIV-1
  • HIV-2
  • Immune activation
  • Immune memory
  • T-cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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