Increased numbers of granzyme-B-expressing cytotoxic T-lymphocytes in the small intestine of HIV-infected patients

Fransje Snijders*, Peter C. Wever, Sven A. Danner, C. Erik Hack, Fiebo J.W. Ten Kate, Ineke J.M. Ten Berge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The objective of this study was to determine whether granzyme B- expressing cells, which identify activated cytotoxic lymphocytes, are present in the small intestinal mucosa of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with and without diarrhea. Therefore, duodenal biopsy specimens from 29 HIV-infected patients (11 with diarrhea and 18 without diarrhea) and 15 control patients were stained for the presence of granzyme B expressing cells. In HIV-infected patients, a significantly increased expression of granzyme B in the lamina propria was observed (p = 0.00001): In 22 of 29 patients, at least 5-10 cells per high-power field were counted. In contrast, in 13 of 15 control patients, granzyme B was not expressed or minimally so, and in two others a maximum of five granzyme-B-expressing cells could be detected per high-power field. No significant difference was found between the HIV-infected patients with and without diarrhea. Double staining revealed that the granzyme-B-expressing cells were mainly CD3 positive. These data show that activated cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) are present in the duodenal mucosa of HIV-infected patients. No relation between the number of CTLs and the presence of diarrhea was demonstrated. CTLs are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of HIV infection and in the production of tissue injury, but their functional role in intestinal HIV-related pathology has yet to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-281
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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