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Pediatric HIV-1 infection is characterized by rapid disease progression and without antiretroviral therapy (ART), more than 50% of infected children die by the age of 2 years. However, a small subset of infected children progresses slowly to disease in the absence of ART. This study aimed to identify functional characteristics of HIV-1-specific T cell responses that distinguish children with rapid and slow disease progression. Fifteen perinatally HIV-infected children (eight rapid and seven slow progressors) were longitudinally studied to monitor T cell polyfunctionality. HIV-1-specific interferon (IFN)-γ(+) CD8(+) T cell responses gradually increased over time but did not differ between slow and rapid progressors. However, polyfunctional HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T cell responses, as assessed by the expression of four functions (IFN-γ, CD107a, TNF-α, MIP-1β), were higher in slow compared to rapid progressors (p=0.05) early in infection, and was associated with slower subsequent disease progression. These data suggest that the quality of the HIV-specific CD8(+) T cell response is associated with the control of disease in children as has been shown in adult infection.

Original publication




Journal article


AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses

Publication Date





1005 - 1012


CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Chemokine CCL4, Child, Preschool, Disease Progression, HIV Antigens, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Interferon-gamma, Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha