Characterization of Natural Killer Cells in HIV Patients Beginning Therapy with a High Burden of Cytomegalovirus

Riwanti Estiasari, Lukman Edwar, Nandini Makwana, Silvia Lee, Patricia Price, IBNU AGUS ARIYANTO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Active infections with cytomegalovirus (CMV) increase NK cell expression of the inhibitory receptor LIR-1 and the activating receptor NKG2C in transplant recipients. However, the effects of CMV on NK cells are different in HIV patients stable on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and have not been analyzed in young HIV patients beginning ART. Methodology: We followed a cohort of 78 Indonesian HIV patients beginning ART. CMV antibodies were measured in plasma before ART (baseline), and after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. CMV DNA was sought in blood granulocytes at baseline by quantitative PCR assay and a deletion in the NKG2C gene was identified by PCR. NK cell profiles were monitored by flow cytometry in 19 patients stratified by the presence of CMV DNA. Healthy controls (n = 17) were assessed once. Results: All 78 patients were CMV seropositive and 41 had detectable CMV DNA. CMV DNA+ patients had higher proportions of total NK cells and CD16 + NK cells at baseline, but similar expression of LIR-1 and NKp30 on NK cells on ART. However, levels of CMV antibody were inversely related to median LIR-1 expression on NK cells. A dramatic elevation in cells expressing NKG2C was restricted to CMV DNA+ patients heterozygous for the NKG2C deletion. Patients with High NKG2C expression had lower levels of CMV antibodies. Conclusion: A subpopulation of NK cells expressing NKG2C was induced by CMV replication in HIV patients heterozygous for a deletion in this gene. Individuals with an abundant NKG2C + and LIR-1 + NK cells displayed lower levels of CMV reactive antibody.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
JournalImmunological Investigations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019


  • CMV-reactive antibody
  • HIV
  • Indonesia
  • NKG2C
  • natural killer cells


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