The functional impairment of HIV-specific CD4+ T cells during chronic HIV infection is thought to be closely linked to viral replication and to T cell exhaustion. T cell exhaustion in the presence of ongoing antigen exposure is a common feature of chronic viral infection, in which dysfunctional T cells fail to eliminate the virus. Otherwise, antiviral T cell function impairment is a poorly understood mechanism. Increasing evidences show that HIV-specific T lymphocytes up-regulated inducible co-receptors, such as the Cytoxic T Lymphocyte Antigen-4, (CTLA-4, or CD152) and Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) and that blockade of the CD152 or PD-1 pathway restores HIV-specific CD4+ T cell function in HIV infection. This review will focus on finding a possible role for inhibitory receptors on virus-specific CD4+ T cells. The analysis of the role of CD152 and PD-1 in HIV-1 infection could provide important insight into the mechanism of viral induced immune dysfunction and lead to immunotherapeutic strategies to reverse immune suppression in this pathology.
Keywords: CTLA-4, PD-1, exhausted T cells, HIV
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