UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Expression of inhibitory markers is increased on effector memory T cells during hepatitis C virus/HIV coinfection as compared to hepatitis C virus or HIV monoinfection

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Antigens, CD; Cell Proliferation; Cells, Cultured; Coinfection; Cytokines; HIV Infections; Hepatitis C; Humans; Immunologic Memory; Immunophenotyping; Leukocytes, Mononuclear; Male; Membrane Proteins; Middle Aged; Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor; T-Lymphocyte Subsets; Young Adult


Gastroenterology | Hepatology | Immunopathology | Virus Diseases


OBJECTIVE: Hepatitis C virus (HCV)/HIV coinfection is associated with rapid progression of hepatic fibrosis and liver disease. T-cell response has been implicated in the pathophysiological outcome of the disease.

DESIGN: This study sought to evaluate the role of memory T-cell exhaustion in enhancing immune dysfunction during coinfection.

METHODS: Sixty-four patients were included in the study; HCV monoinfected (n = 21), HIV monoinfected (n = 23), HCV/HIV coinfected (n = 20), and healthy controls (n = 20). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated; immunophenotyped and functional assays were performed.

RESULTS: A significant increase in the naive T cells and central memory T cells and a marked reduction in effector memory T cells (TEM) were observed with coinfection as compared to monoinfection. Inhibitory markers programmed death 1 (PD-1) and T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin domain containing molecule 3 (TIM3) were highly upregulated on TEM in coinfection and functionally, these TEM cells displayed lowered proliferation. Increased expression of PD-1 and TIM3 correlated with decreased levels of CD8+CD107a+ TEM cells in coinfection. Pro-inflammatory cytokines interferon-gamma and interleukin-2 (IL-2) secretion by TEM cells were also reduced during chronic viral infection. Secretion of IL-10, a human cytokine synthesis inhibitory factor, was significantly upregulated in CD4 TEM with HCV/HIV coinfection in comparison to HCV monoinfection.

CONCLUSION: TEM cells play an important role during viral infection and enhanced expression of inhibitory markers is associated with decreased proliferation and cytotoxicity and increased IL-10 production, which was pronounced in HCV/HIV coinfection. Thus, decreased TEM functionality contributes to diminished host immune responses during HCV/HIV coinfection as compared to HCV or HIV monoinfection.

DOI of Published Version



AIDS. 2013 Sep 10;27(14):2191-200. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e32836285e4. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

AIDS (London, England)

PubMed ID