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PD-1 expression on human CD8 T cells depends on both state of differentiation and activation status

Sauce, Delphinea; Almeida, Jorge Ra; Larsen, Martina; Haro, Laurinea; Autran, Brigittea; Freeman, Gordon Jb; Appay, Victora

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282eee548
Basic Science

Objective and design: PD-1 expression on HIV-specific CD8 T cells was recently reported to reflect functional exhaustion, resulting in uncontrolled HIV-1 replication. Assessing PD-1 expression on T cells may be highly relevant in T-cell immunology and vaccine monitoring. However, this requires us to gain further insights into the significance of PD-1 expression on CD8 T cells in humans.

Methods: We performed a detailed analysis of PD-1 expression pattern on various CD8 T cell subsets from healthy or HIV infected donors.

Results: PD-1 expression has two facets in vivo. On the one hand, it is linked to T-cell differentiation: PD-1 is up-regulated on early/intermediate differentiated subsets, which include HIV and Epstein–Barr virus-specific CD8 T-cell populations, but is down-regulated during late stages of differentiation. On the other hand, it is linked to T-cell activation: on PD-1 positive cells, PD-1 over-expression occurs along with the up-regulation of activation markers such as CD38 or HLA-DR.

Conclusions: PD-1 expression on CD8 T cells, including those specific for HIV, can be related both to their differentiation stage and their activation status. It is important to consider these findings when assessing the expression of PD-1 on T cells.

From the aCellular Immunology laboratory, INSERM U543, Avenir Group, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France

bDepartment of Medical Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Received 8 March, 2007

Revised 28 May, 2007

Accepted 17 June, 2007

Correspondence to V. Appay, Cellular Immunology laboratory, INSERM U543, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France. Tel: +33 1 40 77 81 83; fax: +33 1 42 17 74 90; e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.