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Comparison of Cytotoxic activity and Interferon-g secretion by Natural Killer Cells in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infected individuals


The role of NK cells in slowing disease progression in HIV-2 infected individuals compare to HIV-1 infected individuals.


In this study peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained from 30 HIV-1 and 30 HIV-2 infected subjects from each of 3 categories of CD4 T-cell counts (>500, 200-500 and <200 cells/ul) together with 50 HIV uninfected control subjects. Lytic activity and IFN-g secretion by NK cells from HIV-1 and HIV-2 infected subjects were measured by chromium-release and ELISPOT assays respectively following incubation of PBMC with the NK-sensitive K562 cells. Viral load was also measured from the plasma samples of the subjects.


The cytotoxic response by NK cells was significantly higher in HIV-2 than in HIV-1 infection in subjects with CD4-T cell count >500 cell/ul (p < 0.05) and was similar to that of the healthy controls. There was a significant correlation between the magnitude of the NK population and cytolytic activity in HIV-2 individuals (r = 0.27, p = 0.01). There was also an inverse relationship between the cytolytic activity and plasma viral load in HIV-2 infected subjects (r = -0.27, p = 0.009). Interferon-g secretion by NK cells in ELISPOT assays was similar in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections at all categories of CD4+T cell counts.


The data suggest an efficient cytolytic function from NK cells in early HIV-2 infection, which is associated with high CD4 T cell counts. This may imply that a strategic immune-based therapy to control HIV disease through the enhancement of NK cell activity is worthy of consideration.

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Correspondence to Samuel Victor Nuvor.

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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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Nuvor, S.V., Rowland-jones, S., Whittle, H. et al. Comparison of Cytotoxic activity and Interferon-g secretion by Natural Killer Cells in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infected individuals. Retrovirology 7 (Suppl 1), P9 (2010).

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