CD8+ T cells play an important role in controlling of HIV and SIV infections. However, these cells are largely excluded from B cell follicles where HIV and SIV producing cells concentrate during chronic infection. It is not known, however, if antigen-specific CD8+ T cells are excluded gradually as pathogenesis progresses from early to chronic phase, or this phenomenon occurs from the beginning infection. In this study we determined that SIV-specific CD8+ T cells were largely excluded from follicles during early infection, we also found that within follicles, they were entirely absent in 60% of the germinal centers (GCs) examined. Furthermore, levels of SIV-specific CD8+ T cells in follicular but not extrafollicular areas significantly correlated inversely with levels of viral RNA+ cells. In addition, subsets of follicular SIV-specific CD8+ T cells were activated and proliferating and expressed the cytolytic protein perforin. These studies suggest that a paucity of SIV-specific CD8+ T cells in follicles and complete absence within GCs during early infection may set the stage for the establishment of persistent chronic infection. This record shares the data collected by this study.
Data file contains the animal information and quantitative image analysis results from our study of the early SIV-specific CD8 T cell responses during SIV infection.
Sponsorship: This work was supported by a Public Health Service grant from the National Institutes of Health (grant R01AI096966), by Wisconsin National Primate Research Center grant P51OD011106/P51RR000167, by the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center Pathology and Scientific Protocol Implementation Units, NIH Tetramer Core Facility (contract HHSN272201300006C), by the NIH Nonhuman Primate Reagent Resource (grant R24 RR016001), and by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (contract HHSN 2722000900037C).