T cell kinetics in HIV infected children
Prof Nigel Klein
Description of Project:
There are over 5 million children infected with HIV worldwide. The fortunate ones receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). The challenges of long term treatment of children, however, are much greater than of adults as childhood infection occurs at birth and in the midst of a developing immune system. Though we know that children have faster immune reconstitution on ART there is growing evidence that long term eradication of the viral reservoir is not feasible. So with such limitations of therapy we need to first understand how CD4+ T cells are depleted during infection and reconstituted during ART. Only then can we begin to reconsider treatment goals and to perhaps aim for safe homeostasis with controlled levels of proliferation for both virus and host cells. Therefore we have devised and optimised methods to characterise the different CD4+ T cell subsets affected by the virus and sought to identify the sources of depletion and recovery. Additionally we investigated the effect of increased viral load, activation/proliferation and other factors on these T cell compartments. We are now optimising methods to investigate ongoing and latent viral infection in these compartments.
D Sefe, R Callard, N Klein. HIV immunity and infection: a paediatric perspective. Paediatrics and Child Health. 2007 17(4): 121-5