Date of Award

Summer 7-2009

Degree Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Field of Study

Microbiology and Immunology

Department

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Mathew

Abstract

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the most devastating global health problem. Long Term Non Progressors (LTNP) are seropositive individuals that have delayed progression to AIDS. Potent anti-HIV CD8+ T cell responses are associated with LTNP’s; therefore, an effective cytotoxic T cell (CTL) response is vital for the immune system to control HIV. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) B14 and HLA B27 types are commonly present in LTNP’s.

2B4 (CD244) is expressed on NK cells, monocytes, basophils, eosinophils, and a small population of CD8+ T cells. Although the expression of 2B4+CD8+ T cells has been shown to increase during HIV disease progression, the role of 2B4+ CD8+ T cells has not been established. Studying the differences in activation and cytotoxic activity of 2B4+ and 2B4¯ CD8+ T cells will expand our knowledge of this receptor in T cells, which has not been fully addressed in the past. HIV infected patients could benefit from immunotherapy efforts using the knowledge we gain from 2B4 studies in T cells. In addition, the information gathered from this study can be used for in vivo studies of this receptor in natural HIV infection.

The immunomodulatory effects of Corticotrophin releasing hormone and Epinephrine on 2B4- and 2B4+ CD8+ T cells during activation and the effects on cytotoxicity have not been published to date. Knowledge about their effects will allow us to learn the function of these hormones that are released due to stress during immune regulation in HIV disease.

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