HIV-Associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remains a challenge despite antiretroviral therapy (ART), and has been linked to monocyte/macrophage (M/M) migration to the brain. Due to the potential impact of T cell effector mechanisms in eliminating activated/HIV-infected M/M, T cell activation may play a role in the development of HAND. We sought to investigate the relationship between cognition and both CD8 + T cell activation (HLA-DR + /CD38 + ) and HIV-specific CD8 + T cell responses at the time of HIV diagnosis and 12 months postinitiation of ART. CD8 + T cell activation was increased in HAND compared to cognitive normal (NL) individuals and correlated directly with plasma viral load and inversely with the cognitive status. In addition, Gag-specific cytolytic activity (CD107a/b + ) was decreased in HAND compared with NL individuals and correlated with their neurological testing, suggesting a potential role of cytotoxic CD8 + T cells in the mechanism of HAND development.
- CD8+ T cell activation
- HIV-Associated neurocognitive disorders
- HIV-specific cytolytic T cells