Which cells does HIV infect?

Christopher Savoie savoie at bioreg.kyushu-u.ac.jp
Sun Apr 2 22:05:37 EST 1995


Why cooldn't CD8's be infected?  They are all derived from CD4+
thymocytes (double positives) which are known to be the MOST infected
compartment in the thymus of SCID/HU mice infected with HIV?

It seems rather silly to suggest that CD8's which are derived 
from CD4's would be UNINFECTED...

But that's OK...most others assume the same at present.  Because they
think that the thymus goes on an early retirement after puberty...The
CD4 folks have so many research dollars tied up in studying CD4 cells
that they never really look at the CD8's, which control viral disease
progression.  The CD8 folks see the CD8's as the unaffected saviors
in the battle against disease progression, not as targets themselves.  

CD4 and CD8 researchers tend to be mutually exclusive
groups in immunology/virology.  And they've convinced each other
that the CD8's are doing just fine until they suddenly drop dead
at the onset of AIDS.

I think not.

Christopher J. Savoie
Dept. of Genetics
Medical Institute of Bioregulation
Kyushu University
Fukuoka, Japan

> > I know that HIV infects CD4+ cells through the gp120-CD4 interaction (or I 
> > believe that *was* the story).
> > 
> > So which other cells and, if known, through which molecules on both the 
> > target cell and the virus.  
> > 
> > I remember hearing/reading where CD8+ (single pos.) may be infected.
>      I wouldn't think that CD8+ cells would be INfected, but they would
> most certainly be AFfected.  CD8+ cells are the cytotoxic T-cells which
> release perforin and other substances that cause holes in the membrane of
> the foreign tissue.  However, CD4+ cells are Helper T-cells, which release
> IL-2.  This initiates the differentiation and proliferation of cytotoxic T
> cells.  Therefore, although I don't see a direct infection of CD8+ cells
> with HIV, there numbers could be decreased by HIV infection to to a lack
> of stimulation for their production.  Certainly, they would not become
> elevated to levels normall y associated with viral infections.

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