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Virus-specific cellular immune correlates of survival in vaccinated monkeys after SIV challenge

Understanding the characteristics of the virus-specific T lymphocyte response that will confer optimal protection against the clinical progression of AIDS will inform the development of an effective cellular immune-based HIV vaccine. We have recently shown that survival in plasmid DNA-primed/recombinant adenovirus-boosted rhesus monkeys that are challenged with SIVmac251 is associated with the preservation post-challenge of central memory CD4+ T lymphocytes and robust IFN-g-producing SIV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T lymphocyte responses. Further studies were initiated to extend these observations to determine which virus-specific T lymphocyte subpopulations play a primary role in controlling disease progression and characterize the functional repertoire of these cells. We show that the preservation of the SIV-specific central memory CD8+ T lymphocyte population and a linked SIV-specific CD4+ T lymphocyte response are associated with prolonged survival in vaccinated monkeys following challenge. Further, we demonstrate that SIV-specific IFN-g, TNF-a, and IL-2 producing T lymphocytes are all comparably associated with protection against disease progression. These findings underscore the contribution of virus-specific central memory T lymphocytes in controlling clinical progression in vaccinated individuals following a primate immunodeficiency virus infection.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Letvin, N. Virus-specific cellular immune correlates of survival in vaccinated monkeys after SIV challenge. Retrovirology 3 (Suppl 1), S20 (2006).

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