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CD8(+) T cells are believed to play an important role in the control of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. However, despite intensive efforts, it has not been possible to consistently link the overall magnitude of the CD8(+) T-cell response with control of HIV-1. Here, we have investigated the association of different CD8(+) memory T-cell subsets responding to HIV-1 in early infection with future control of HIV-1 viremia. Our results demonstrate that both a larger proportion and an absolute number of HIV-1-specific CD8(+) CCR7(-) CD45RA(+) effector memory T cells (T(EMRA) cells) were associated with a lower future viral load set point. In contrast, a larger absolute number of HIV-1-specific CD8(+) CCR7(-) CD45RA(-) effector memory T cells (T(EM)) was not related to the viral load set point. Overall, the findings suggest that CD8(+) T(EMRA) cells have superior antiviral activity and indicate that both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the CD8(+) T-cell response need to be considered when defining the characteristics of protective immunity to HIV-1.

Original publication




Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





5759 - 5765


Adult, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cells, Cultured, Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte, Female, Gene Products, gag, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Humans, Immunologic Memory, Immunophenotyping, Lymphocyte Count, Male, Middle Aged, Predictive Value of Tests, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, Viral Load, Viremia