HIV preferentially infects HIV-specific CD4+ T cells

Daniel C. Douek, Jason M. Brenchley, Michael R. Betts, David R. Ambrozak, Brenna J. Hill, Yukari Okamoto, Joseph P. Casazza, Janaki Kuruppu, Kevin Kunstman, Steven Wolinsky, Zvi Grossman, Mark Dybul, Annette Oxenius, David A. Price, Mark Connors, Richard A. Koup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1063 Scopus citations


HIV infection is associated with the progressive loss of CD4+T cells through their destruction or decreased production. A central, yet unresolved issue of HIV disease is the mechanism for this loss, and in particular whether HIV-specific CD4+ T cells are preferentially affected. Here we show that HIV-specific memory CD4+ T cells in infected individuals contain more HIV viral DNA than other memory CD4+ T cells, at all stages of HIV disease. Additionally, following viral rebound during interruption of antiretroviral therapy, the frequency of HIV viral DNA in the HIV-specific pool of memory CD4+ T cells increases to a greater extent than in memory CD4+ T cells of other specificities. These findings show that HIV-specific CD4+ T cells are preferentially infected by HIV in vivo. This provides a potential mechanism to explain the loss of HIV-specific CD4+ T-cell responses, and consequently the loss of immunological control of HIV replication. Furthermore, the phenomenon of HIV specifically infecting the very cells that respond to it adds a cautionary note to the practice of structured therapy interruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-98
Number of pages4
Issue number6884
StatePublished - May 2 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'HIV preferentially infects HIV-specific CD4+ T cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this