B-cell and T-cell activation in South African HIV-1-positive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients
Flepisi, Brian T.
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BACKGROUND: Altered immune mechanisms play a critical role in the pathogenesis of non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). HIV-1 (HIV) infection is associated with a state of excessive T-cell activation, which can lead to increased T-cell turnover and lymph node fibrosis. Objectives: This study aimed to determine the serum levels of circulating B-cell activation markers, and the expression of T-cell activation and regulatory markers in HIV-positive NHL patients. METHOD: The serum levels of circulating soluble(s) sCD20, sCD23, sCD27, sCD30 and sCD44 molecules, all of which are biomarkers of B-cell activation, were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), while biomarkers of T-cell activation (CD8+CD38+) and regulation (FoxP3) were determined by flow cytometry in 141 subjects who were divided into five groups: Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naïve HIV-positive patients; ARTtreated HIV-positive patients; HIV-negative NHL patients; HIV-positive NHL patients on ART; and healthy controls. RESULTS: HIV-positive NHL patients had significantly higher serum levels of sCD20, sCD23, sCD30 and sCD44 than HIV-negative NHL patients, while all five biomarkers were significantly elevated in HIV-positive NHL patients when compared with ART-treated HIV-positive patients. HIV-positive NHL patients had higher CD8+CD38+ and lower FoxP3 expression than HIV-negative NHL and ART-treated HIV-positive patients. CONCLUSION: B-cell activation is increased in HIV-positive NHL patients and is associated with reduced regulatory T-cell populations and increased CD8+ T-cell activation.