Immunological predictors of successful and safe anti-rejection therapy in HIV+ patients who underwent liver transplantation

Following a solid organ transplant (SOT), immune responses of the recipient are profoundly altered; anti-rejection therapy causes a marked suppression of cell-mediated immune responses. We investigate T cell responses to a number of relevant and recall antigens of viral, bacterial or fungal origin in patients with different immune setting: liver transplanted (LT), HIV+ and healthy controls (CTR). The production of IL-2, IL-17, TNF-⍺ and IFN- was analyzed in 4 subpopulations among CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Transplanted patients display a lower percentage of CD8+ T cells and are characterized by higher percentage of CD4+ T cells able to produce IL-2 and CD8+ T cells able to produce TNF-⍺ and IFN-g. The percentage of CD4+ T cells in LT and HIV+ patients decreased if compared to CTR, while CD8+ T cells increased. All groups displayed a similar distribution of different T cell subsets. We stimulated cells with stimuli that are able to activate T cells, as anti-CD3/28/49d and Staphylococcus Enterotoxin antigen B (SEB). We found high variability in the response to these stimuli among patients of the same group. SEB stimulation results in major production of cytokines compared to anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation. Regarding CD4, HIV Transplanted patients produce more IL-2 than controls and show higher percentage of CD8+ T cells able to produce TNF-⍺ and IFN-g.

Margherita Digaetano
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