Basic Science Programme / Rural Clinical Cohort Cellular Immunology Study Project

Lead Research Organisation: MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS


Patients infected with HIV often differ with respect to disease progression, as defined e.g. by the speed with which the number of their immune cells declines and by the time they take to develop HIV related illnesses. There are patients in whom the disease progresses particularly slowly and others whose disease is fast-progressing. The speed of disease progression depends on a variety of factors. These include characteristics of the virus and characteristics of the immune response of the patient. It would be important to identify the type of immune responses that are associated with slow disease progression. If the role of these immune responses were fully understood, it may be possible to design more effective medical interventions (e.g. drugs or vaccines).

Technical Summary

Purpose: This longitudinal study aims at investigating the relationship between HIV-1 specific T cell immune responses and disease progression. It would be important to identify those immune responses in HIV-infected patients that are associated with slow disease progression. Once the role of these responses is understood, it may be possible to design additional effective medical interventions for HIV infected patients. |Methods: Individuals with a CD4 cell count of around 350 cells/l but with differences in disease progression (defined by the rate of CD4 cell count decline) are identified from the Rural Clinical Cohort (RCC, see separate abstract). Their cellular immune responses to viral lysates are investigated. Viral lysates are prepared by inactivation of cultured virus using detergents and filtering through Sephadex G25 columns. Immune responses (e.g. expression of IFN and IL-2 in CD8 and CD4 T cells) are measured by flow-cytometer. Multivariate statistical analysis is employed to test whether observed immune responses are associated with disease progression.
Description Cellular immunology studies 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have conducted the experiments using different techniques such as elispot and flowcytometry
Collaborator Contribution Training and publications
Impact Training, introduction of new assays and publications