Elevated levels of iNKT cell and NK cell activation correlate with disease progression in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections

Susanna M. Bächle, David F G Malone, Marcus Buggert, Annika C. Karlsson, Per Erik Isberg, Antonio J. Biague, Hans Norrgren, Patrik Medstrand, Markus Moll, Johan K. Sandberg, Marianne Jansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)


OBJECTIVE:: In this study we aimed to investigate the frequency and activation of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells and natural killer (NK) cells among HIV-1, HIV-2, or dually HIV-1/HIV-2 (HIV-D)-infected individuals, in relation to markers of disease progression. DESIGN:: Whole blood samples were collected from treatment-naïve HIV-1 (n?=?23), HIV-2 (n?=?34) and HIV-D (n?=?11) infected individuals, as well as HIV-seronegative controls (n?=?25), belonging to an occupational cohort in Guinea-Bissau. METHODS:: Frequencies and activation levels of iNKT and NK cell subsets were analysed using multi-colour flow cytometry and results were related to HIV-status, CD4+ T cell levels, viral load, and T cell activation. RESULTS:: HIV-1, HIV-D, and viremic HIV-2 individuals had lower numbers of CD4+ iNKT cells in circulation compared to seronegative controls. Numbers of CD56 NK cells were also reduced in HIV-infected individuals as compared to control subjects. Notably, iNKT cell and NK cell activation levels, assessed by CD38 expression, were increased in HIV-1 and HIV-2 single, as well as dual, infections. HIV-2 viremia was associated with elevated activation levels in CD4+ iNKT cells, CD56 and CD56 NK cells, as compared to aviremic HIV-2 infection. Additionally, disease markers such as CD4+ T cell percentages, viral load, and CD4+ T cell activation were associated with CD38 expression levels of both iNKT and NK cells, which activation levels also correlated with each other. CONCLUSIONS:: Our data indicate that elevated levels of iNKT cell and NK cell activation are associated with viremia and disease progression markers in both HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1713-1722
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Infectious Medicine


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