Although CD8(+) T-cells are important for the control of HIV-1 in vivo, the precise correlates of immune efficacy remain unclear. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of viral sequence variation and T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire composition across multiple epitope specificities in a group of antiretroviral treatment-naïve individuals chronically infected with HIV-1. A negative correlation was detected between changes in antigen-specific TCR repertoire diversity and CD8(+) T-cell response magnitude, reflecting clonotypic expansions and contractions related to alterations in cognate viral epitope sequences. These patterns were independent of the individual, evidenced by discordant clonotype-specific evolution against different epitopes in single subjects. Moreover, long-term asymptomatic HIV-1 infection was characterized by evolution of the TCR repertoire in parallel with viral replication. Collectively, these data suggest a continuous bidirectional process of adaptation between HIV-1 and virus-specific CD8(+) T-cell clonotypes orchestrated at the TCR/antigen interface.
HLA-B*27 and B*57 are associated with relatively slow progression to AIDS. Mechanisms held responsible for this protective effect include the immunodominance and high magnitude, breadth, and affinity of the cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) response restricted by these HLA molecules, as well as superior maintenance of CTL responses during HIV-1 disease progression.
Quantitative knowledge of the turnover of different leukocyte populations is a key to our understanding of immune function in health and disease. Much progress has been made thanks to the introduction of stable isotope labeling, the state-of-the-art technique for in vivo quantification of cellular life spans. Yet, even leukocyte life span estimates on the basis of stable isotope labeling can vary up to 10-fold among laboratories. We investigated whether these differences could be the result of variances in the length of the labeling period among studies. To this end, we performed deuterated water-labeling experiments in mice, in which only the length of label administration was varied. The resulting life span estimates were indeed dependent on the length of the labeling period when the data were analyzed using a commonly used single-exponential model. We show that multiexponential models provide the necessary tool to obtain life span estimates that are independent of the length of the labeling period. Use of a multiexponential model enabled us to reduce the gap between human T-cell life span estimates from 2 previously published labeling studies. This provides an important step toward unambiguous understanding of leukocyte turnover in health and disease.
Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells and are indispensable for host defense. Recently, they have also been implicated in immune regulation and suppression. The latter functions seem hard to reconcile with the widely held view that neutrophils are very short-lived, with a circulatory half-life of <7 h. To reopen the discussion on the average neutrophil half-life, we review and discuss experiments performed in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, as well as recent in vivo labeling experiments. We reappraise the current knowledge on neutrophil half-lives, including their production in the bone marrow, their residency in the circulation and marginated pool, and their exit from the circulation.
Humans have a remarkable ability to maintain relatively constant lymphocyte numbers across many decades, from puberty to old-age, despite a multitude of infectious and other challenges and a dramatic decline in thymic output. This phenomenon, lymphocyte homeostasis, is achieved by matching the production, death, and phenotype transition rates across a network of varied lymphocyte subpopulations. Understanding this process in humans depends on the ability to measure in vivo rates of lymphocyte production and loss. Such investigations have been greatly facilitated by the advent of stable isotope labeling approaches, which use the rate of incorporation of a tracer into cellular DNA as a marker of cell division. Two labeling approaches are commonly employed, one using deuterium-labeled glucose and the other using deuterium-labeled water, also known as heavy water ((2)H(2)O). Here we describe the application of these two labeling techniques for measurement of human in vivo lymphocyte kinetics through the four phases of investigation: labeling, -sampling, analysis, and interpretation.
In the past decade, evidence has accumulated that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-induced chronic immune activation drives progression to AIDS. Studies among different monkey species have shown that the difference between pathological and non-pathological infection is determined by the response of the immune system to the virus, rather than its cytopathicity. Here we review the current understanding of the various mechanisms driving chronic immune activation in HIV infection, the cell types involved, its effects on HIV-specific immunity, and how persistent inflammation may cause AIDS and the wide spectrum of non-AIDS related pathology. We argue that therapeutic relief of inflammation may be beneficial to delay HIV-disease progression and to reduce non-AIDS related pathological side effects of HIV-induced chronic immune stimulation.
HIV-1 is known to adapt to the human immune system, leading to accumulation of escape mutations during the course of infection within an individual. Cross-sectional studies have shown an inverse correlation between the prevalence of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in a population and the number of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) escape mutations in epitopes restricted by those HLA alleles. Recently, it was demonstrated that at a population level HIV-1 is adapting to the humoral immune response, which is reflected in an increase in resistance to neutralizing antibodies over time. Here we investigated whether adaptations to cellular immunity have also accumulated during the epidemic.
Thymectomy during early childhood is generally thought to have serious consequences for the establishment of the T-cell compartment. In the present study, we investigated the composition of the T-cell pool in the first 3 decades after thymectomy during infancy due to cardiac surgery. In the first 5 years after thymectomy, naive and total CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell numbers in the blood and T-cell receptor excision circle (TREC) levels in CD4(+) T cells were significantly lower than in healthy age-matched controls. In the first years after thymectomy, plasma IL-7 levels were significantly elevated and peripheral T-cell proliferation levels were increased by ? 2-fold. From 5 years after thymectomy onward, naive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell counts and TRECs were within the normal range. Because TREC levels are expected to decline continuously in the absence of thymic output, we investigated whether normalization of the naive T-cell pool could be due to regeneration of thymic tissue. In the majority of individuals who had been thymectomized during infancy, thymic tissue could indeed be identified on magnetic resonance imaging scans. Whereas thymectomy has severe effects on the establishment of the naive T-cell compartment during early childhood, our data suggest that functional regrowth of thymic tissue can limit its effects in subsequent years.
Children with Down syndrome (DS) have low numbers of naive T cells and abnormal thymus development and function. Because next to thymic production, peripheral proliferation greatly contributes to naive T cell generation in healthy children, we examined the cause of reduced naive T cell numbers in children with DS. Compared with aged matched controls, the total number of signal joint TCR excision circles (sjTREC) per ml blood was reduced in DS. Reduced frequencies and absolute numbers of protein tyrosine kinase 7-positive recent thymic emigrants, but similar levels of naive T cell apoptosis and Ag-driven activation in DS, suggested that reduced thymic output and not increased peripheral loss of naive T cells caused the reduced sjTREC numbers. We found no support for defective peripheral generation of naive T cells in DS. In DS the naive T cells responded to IL-7 and, based on Ki-67 expression, had similar proliferation rates as in healthy controls. sjTREC content per naive CD8(+) T cells was not increased, but even decreased, pointing to increased survival or peripheral generation of naive T cells in DS. In conclusion, we show in this study that reduced thymic output, but not reduced peripheral generation nor increased loss of naive T cells, results in the low naive T cell numbers found in DS.
We longitudinally evaluated HIV-specific T-cell immunity after discontinuation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). After treatment interruption (TI), some individuals could maintain a low plasma viral load (<15,000 copies/mL), whereas others could not (>50,000 copies/mL). Before HAART was initiated, plasma viral load was similar. After TI, the numbers of CD8(+) T cells increased more in individuals without viral control, whereas individuals maintaining a low viral load showed a more pronounced increase in HIV-specific CD8(+) T-cell numbers. No differences were seen in the number or percentage of cytokine-producing HIV-1-specific CD4(+) T cells, or in proliferative capacity of T cells. Four weeks after TI, the magnitude of the total HIV-1-specific CD8(+) T-cell response (IFN-?(+) and/or IL-2(+) and/or CD107a(+)) was significantly higher in individuals maintaining viral control. Degranulation contributed more to the overall CD8(+) T-cell response than cytokine production. Whether increased T-cell functionality is a cause or consequence of low viral load remains to be elucidated.
Modern intensive chemotherapy for childhood haematological malignancies has led to high cure rates, but has detrimental effects on the immune system. There is little knowledge concerning long-term recovery of the adaptive immune system. Here we studied the long-term reconstitution of the adaptive immune system in 31 children treated for haematological malignancies between July 2000 and October 2006. We performed detailed phenotypical and functional analyses of the various B and T cell subpopulations until 5 years after chemotherapy. We show that recovery of newly-developed transitional B cells and naive B and T cells occurred rapidly, within months, whereas recovery of the different memory B and T cell subpopulations was slower and incomplete, even after 5 years post-chemotherapy. The speed of B and T cell recovery was age-independent, despite a significant contribution of the thymus to T cell recovery. Plasmablast B cell levels remained above normal and immunoglobulin levels normalised within 1 week. Functional T cell responses were normal, even within the first year post-chemotherapy. This study shows that after intensive chemotherapy for haematological malignancies in children, numbers of several memory B and T cell subpopulations were decreased on the long term, while functional T cell responses were not compromised.
Many features of T-cell homeostasis in primates are still unclear, thus limiting our understanding of AIDS pathogenesis, in which T-cell homeostasis is lost. Here, we performed experiments of in vivo CD4(+) or CD8(+) lymphocyte depletion in 2 nonhuman primate species, rhesus macaques (RMs) and sooty mangabeys (SMs). Whereas RMs develop AIDS after infection with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), SIV-infected SMs are typically AIDS-resistant. We found that, in both species, most CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells in blood and lymph nodes were depleted after treatment with their respective antibodies. These CD4(+) and CD8(+) lymphocyte depletions were followed by a largely lineage-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell proliferation, involving mainly memory T cells, which correlated with interleukin-7 plasma levels. Interestingly, SMs showed a faster repopulation of naive CD4(+) T cells than RMs. In addition, in both species CD8(+) T-cell repopulation was faster than that of CD4(+) T cells, with CD8(+) T cells reconstituting a normal pool within 60 days and CD4(+) T cells remaining below baseline levels up to day 180 after depletion. While this study revealed subtle differences in CD4(+) T-cell repopulation in an AIDS-sensitive versus an AIDS-resistant species, such differences may have particular relevance in the presence of active SIV repli cation, where CD4(+) T-cell destruction is chronic.
Neutrophils are essential effector cells of the innate immune response and are indispensable for host defense. Apart from their antimicrobial functions, neutrophils inform and shape subsequent immunity. This immune modulatory functionality might however be considered limited because of their generally accepted short lifespan (< 1 day). In contrast to the previously reported short lifespans acquired by ex vivo labeling or manipulation, we show that in vivo labeling in humans with the use of (2)H(2)O under homeostatic conditions showed an average circulatory neutrophil lifespan of 5.4 days. This lifespan is at least 10 times longer than previously reported and might lead to reappraisal of novel neutrophil functions in health and disease.
Estimation of division and death rates of lymphocytes in different conditions is vital for quantitative understanding of the immune system. Deuterium, in the form of deuterated glucose or heavy water, can be used to measure rates of proliferation and death of lymphocytes in vivo. Inferring these rates from labeling and delabeling curves has been subject to considerable debate with different groups suggesting different mathematical models for that purpose. We show that the three most common models, which are based on quite different biological assumptions, actually predict mathematically identical labeling curves with one parameter for the exponential up and down slope, and one parameter defining the maximum labeling level. By extending these previous models, we here propose a novel approach for the analysis of data from deuterium labeling experiments. We construct a model of "kinetic heterogeneity" in which the total cell population consists of many sub-populations with different rates of cell turnover. In this model, for a given distribution of the rates of turnover, the predicted fraction of labeled DNA accumulated and lost can be calculated. Our model reproduces several previously made experimental observations, such as a negative correlation between the length of the labeling period and the rate at which labeled DNA is lost after label cessation. We demonstrate the reliability of the new explicit kinetic heterogeneity model by applying it to artificially generated datasets, and illustrate its usefulness by fitting experimental data. In contrast to previous models, the explicit kinetic heterogeneity model 1) provides a novel way of interpreting labeling data; 2) allows for a non-exponential loss of labeled cells during delabeling, and 3) can be used to describe data with variable labeling length.
Quantitative understanding of immunology requires the development of experimental and mathematical techniques for estimation of rates of division and death of lymphocytes under different conditions. Here, we review the advantages and limitations of several labelling methods that are currently used to quantify turnover of lymphocytes in vivo. In addition to highlighting insights into lymphocyte kinetics which have recently been gained thanks to the development of novel techniques, we discuss important directions for future experimental and theoretical work in the field of lymphocyte turnover.
CD8(+) T cells recognize infected or dysregulated cells via the clonotypically expressed ?? TCR, which engages Ag in the form of peptide bound to MHC class I (MHC I) on the target cell surface. Previous studies have indicated that a diverse Ag-specific TCR repertoire can be beneficial to the host, yet the determinants of clonotypic diversity are poorly defined. To better understand the factors that govern TCR repertoire formation, we conducted a comprehensive clonotypic analysis of CD8(+) T cell populations directed against epitopes derived from EBV and CMV. Neither pathogen source nor the restricting MHC I molecule were linked with TCR diversity; indeed, both HLA-A and HLA-B molecules were observed to interact with an overlapping repertoire of expressed TRBV genes. Peptide specificity, however, markedly impacted TCR diversity. In addition, distinct peptides sharing HLA restriction and viral origin mobilized TCR repertoires with distinct patterns of TRBV gene usage. Notably, no relationship was observed between immunodominance and TCR diversity. These findings provide new insights into the forces that shape the Ag-specific TCR repertoire in vivo and highlight a determinative role for the peptide component of the peptide-MHC I complex on the molecular frontline of CD8(+) T cell-mediated immune surveillance.
The efficiency of the adaptive immune system is dependent on the diversity of T- and B-cell receptors, which is created by random rearrangement of receptor gene segments. AmpliCot is an experimental technique that allows the measurement of the diversity of the T- and B-cell repertoire. This procedure has the advantage over other cloning and sequencing techniques of being time- and expense-effective. In previous studies, receptor diversity, measured with AmpliCot, has been inferred assuming a second-order kinetics model. The latter implies that the relation between diversity and concentration × time (Cot) values is linear. We show that a more detailed model, involving heteroduplex and transient-duplex formation, leads to significantly better fits of experimental data and to nonlinear diversity-Cot relations. We propose an alternative fitting procedure, which is straightforward to apply and which gives an improved description of the relationship between Cot values and diversity.
Parallels between T cell kinetics in mice and men have fueled the idea that a young mouse is a good model system for a young human, and an old mouse, for an elderly human. By combining in vivo kinetic labeling using deuterated water, thymectomy experiments, analysis of T cell receptor excision circles and CD31 expression, and mathematical modeling, we have quantified the contribution of thymus output and peripheral naive T cell division to the maintenance of T cells in mice and men. Aging affected naive T cell maintenance fundamentally differently in mice and men. Whereas the naive T cell pool in mice was almost exclusively sustained by thymus output throughout their lifetime, the maintenance of the adult human naive T cell pool occurred almost exclusively through peripheral T cell division. These findings put constraints on the extrapolation of insights into T cell dynamics from mouse to man and vice versa.
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