Selective decrease in circulating V alpha 24+V beta 11+ NKT cells during HIV type 1 infection

Hans J J van der Vliet, B Mary E von Blomberg, Mette D Hazenberg, Nobusuke Nishi, Sigrid A Otto, Birgit H van Benthem, Maria Prins, Frans A Claessen, Alfons J M van den Eertwegh, Giuseppe Giaccone, Frank Miedema, Rik J Scheper, Herbert M Pinedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


CD1d-restricted NKT cells express an invariant TCR and have been demonstrated to play an important regulatory role in a variety of immune responses. Invariant NKT cells down-regulate autoimmune responses by production of type 2 cytokines and can initiate antitumor and antimicrobial immune responses by production of type 1 cytokines. Although defects in the (invariant) Valpha24+Vbeta11+ NKT cell population have been observed in patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases, little is known regarding the protective role of Valpha24+Vbeta11+ NKT cells in human infectious disease. In a cross-sectional study in HIV-1-infected individuals, we found circulating numbers of Valpha24+Vbeta11+ NKT cells to be reduced, independent of CD4+ T cell counts, CD4:CD8 ratios, and viral load. Because a small minority of Valpha24+Vbeta11+ NKT cells of healthy donors expressed HIV-1 (co)receptors and the vast majority of Valpha24+Vbeta11+ NKT cells in HIV-1-infected individuals expressed the Fas receptor, the depletion was more likely due to Fas-mediated apoptosis than to preferential infection of Valpha24+Vbeta11+ NKT cells by HIV-1. A longitudinal cohort study, in which patients were analyzed before seroconversion and 1 and 5 years after seroconversion, demonstrated that a large proportion of the depletion occurred within the first year postseroconversion. In this longitudinal study no evidence was found to support an important role of Valpha24+Vbeta11+ NKT cells in determining the rate of progression during HIV-1 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-5
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2002

Cite this

van der Vliet, H. J. J., von Blomberg, B. M. E., Hazenberg, M. D., Nishi, N., Otto, S. A., van Benthem, B. H., ... Pinedo, H. M. (2002). Selective decrease in circulating V alpha 24+V beta 11+ NKT cells during HIV type 1 infection. Journal of Immunology, 168(3), 1490-5.