Early and nonreversible decrease of CD161++/MAIT cells in HIV infection

Patrick Gerard Cormac Cosgrove*, James E. Ussher, Andri Rauch, Kathleen Gärtner, Ayako Kurioka, Michael H. Hühn, Krista Adelmann, Yu Hoi Kang, Joannah R. Fergusson, Peter Simmonds, Philip Goulder, Ted H. Hansen, Julie Fox, Huldrych F. Günthard, Nina Khanna, Fiona Powrie, Alan Steel, Brian Gazzard, Rodney E. Phillips, John FraterHolm Uhlig, Paul Klenerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


HIV infection is associated with immune dysfunction, perturbation of immune-cell subsets and opportunistic infections. CD161++CD8 + T cells are a tissue-infiltrating population that produce IL17A, IL22, IFNγ, and TNFα, cytokines important in mucosal immunity. In adults they dominantly express the semi-invariant TCR Vα7.2, the canonical feature of mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells and have been recently implicated in host defense against pathogens. We analyzed the frequency and function of CD161++/MAIT cells in peripheral blood and tissue from patients with early stage or chronic-stage HIV infection. We show that the CD161++/MAIT cell population is significantly decreased in early HIV infection and fails to recover despite otherwise successful treatment. We provide evidence that CD161++/MAIT cells are not preferentially infected but may be depleted through diverse mechanisms including accumulation in tissues and activation-induced cell death. This loss may impact mucosal defense and could be important in susceptibility to specific opportunistic infections in HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-961
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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