Evolution of CD8+ T cell responses after acute PARV4 infection.
Simmons R., Sharp C., Levine J., Bowness P., Simmonds P., Cox A., Klenerman P.
PARV4 is a small DNA human virus that is strongly associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV infections. The immunologic control of acute PARV4 infection has not been previously described. We define the acute onset of PARV4 infection and the characteristics of the acute-phase and memory immune responses to PARV4 in a group of HCV- and HIV-negative, active intravenous drug users. Ninety-eight individuals at risk of blood-borne infections were tested for PARV4 IgG. Gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assays, intracellular cytokine staining, and a tetrameric HLA-A2-peptide complex were used to define the T cell populations responding to PARV4 peptides in those individuals who acquired infection during the study. Thirty-five individuals were found to be PARV4 seropositive at the end of the study, eight of whose baseline samples were found to be seronegative. Persistent and functional T cell responses were detected in the acute infection phase. These responses had an active, mature, and cytotoxic phenotype and were maintained several years after infection. Thus, PARV4 infection is common in individuals exposed to blood-borne infections, independent of their HCV or HIV status. Since PARV4 elicits strong, broad, and persistent T cell responses, understanding of the processes responsible may prove useful for future vaccine design.