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GB Virus C Infection Is Associated with Altered Lymphocyte Subset Distribution and Reduced T Cell Activation and Proliferation in HIV-Infected Individuals
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Author: Jack T. Stapleton et al.

by Jack T. Stapleton, Kathryn Chaloner, Jeffrey A. Martenson, Jingyang Zhang, Donna Klinzman, Jinhua Xiang, Wendy Sauter, Seema N. Desai, Alan Landay

GBV-C infection is associated with prolonged survival and with reduced T cell activation in HIV-infected subjects not receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). The relationship between GBV-C and T cell activation in HIV-infected subjects was examined. HIV-infected subjects on cART with non-detectable HIV viral load (VL) or cART naïve subjects were studied. GBV-C VL and HIV VL were determined. Cell surface markers of activation (CD38+/HLA-DR+), proliferation (Ki-67+), and HIV entry co-receptor expression (CCR5+ and CXCR4+) on total CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and on naïve, central memory (CM), effector memory (EM), and effector CD4+ and CD8+ subpopulations were measured by flow cytometry. In subjects with suppressed HIV VL, GBV-C was consistently associated with reduced activation in naïve, CM, EM, and effector CD4+ cells. GBV-C was associated with reduced CD4+ and CD8+ T cell surface expression of activation and proliferation markers, independent of HIV VL classification. GBV-C was also associated with higher proportions of naïve CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and with lower proportions of EM CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In conclusion, GBV-C infection was associated with reduced activation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in both HIV viremic and HIV RNA suppressed patients. Those with GBV-C infection demonstrated an increased proportion of naive T cells and a reduction in T cell activation and proliferation independent of HIV VL classification, including those with suppressed HIV VL on cART. Since HIV pathogenesis is thought to be accelerated by T cell activation, these results may contribute to prolonged survival among HIV infected individuals co-infected with GBV-C. Furthermore, since cART therapy does not reduce T cell activation to levels seen in HIV-uninfected people, GBV-C infection may be beneficial for HIV-related diseases in those effectively treated with anti-HIV therapy.
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