High cytotoxic and specific migratory potencies of senescent CD8+ CD57+ cells in HIV-infected and uninfected individuals
CD8+ CD57+ T lymphocytes, present at low levels in the peripheral blood of healthy individuals expand during HIV infection and remain elevated during chronic infection. Their role in the immune response remains unclear. We performed a large-scale gene array analysis (3158 genes) to characterize them and, interestingly, found no distinction in the transcriptional profiles of CD8+ CD57+ T lymphocytes from HIV-infected and uninfected subjects. In both groups, these cells showed specificity for multiple Ags and produced large amounts of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. The transcriptional profiles of CD8+ CD57+ and CD8+ CD57- cells, however, differed substantially. We propose that CD8+ CD57+ cells were Ag-driven effector cells with very high cytotoxic effector potential including perforin, granzymes, and granulysin, regardless of HIV status. At both the messenger and protein levels, they expressed more adhesion molecules and fewer chemokine receptors (CCR7 and CXCR4) than CD8+ CD57- cells but expressed preferentially CX3CR1. The lower expression level of genes involved in cell cycle regulation showed limited proliferation capacities of CD8+ CD57+ even in response to TCR and IL-2, IL-7, and IL-15 stimulation. CD8+ CD57+ T cells from both HIV and uninfected subjects maintain effective cytotoxic potentials but are destined to migrate to nonlymphoid tissues without further cycling.