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Class II (DR) antigen expression on CD8+ lymphocyte subsets in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

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In a selected group of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients we confirm the expansion of a CD8+ T-lymphocyte subset, i.e., the CD8+/Leu7+ cells, which account for 30% of the lymphocytes, compared to 3% in the control donors. In addition, a CD8+ T-lymphocyte subset that coexpresses class II (DR) antigens, i.e., CD8+/DR+ cells, is also increased from 1.5% in controls to 27% in the HIV-infected patients. Using three-color immunofluorescence and flow cytometry we can demonstrate that the CD8+/Leu7+ and the CD8+/class II+ cells are not distinct but overlapping subsets. In the HIV-infected patients 42% of the CD8+/Leu7+ cells were strongly positive for class II and these CD8+/Leu7+/class II+ cells accounted for 13% of all lymphocytes. These findings indicate that the expanded CD8+/Leu7+ cells are activated and hence might be actively involved in immune defense in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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Correspondence to H. W. L. Ziegler-Heitbrock.

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Ziegler-Heitbrock, H.W.L., Stachel, D., Schlunk, T. et al. Class II (DR) antigen expression on CD8+ lymphocyte subsets in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). J Clin Immunol 8, 473–478 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00916953

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Key words

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • T8 cells
  • three-color immunofluorescence
  • flow cytometry